According to multiple sources, the STAR Act stellar reauthorization bill is being pulled from today's (Nov. 13) markup in the Senate Commerce Committee.
Broadcasters oppose reauthorization, while MVPDs support it.
STELAR creates the compulsory license that allows satellite operators to import distant TV network affiliate signals to markets without them. It also mandates good faith negotiations in retransmission consent.
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), who chairs the committee, had scheduled consideration of his bill simply reauthorizing the law for five more years.
MVPDs would prefer the bill also include some retrans reforms--mandatory arbitration, no blackouts--but the bottom line is they want reauthorization.
The House is scheduled to mark up its version of reauthorization Nov. 14.
Given that the license expires at the end of the year, pulling it from consideration could mean there were not enough votes for approval in the committee.
At press time, the committee had just released a revised markup agenda, and the STAR bill had been removed. A committee spokesperson was unavailable for comment on why the bill was pulled.
In opening the hearing, Wicker explained the deletion. He said that he had heard from colleagues in the past few days about additional reforms they would like to see as part of the legislation, so he was postponing the markup to "another date in the coming weeks."
Ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) thanked him, pointed to "very important" regional issues related to the reauthorization and its effect on consumers, and said she looked forward to working with him.
But she also signaled that consideration of the legislation could extend beyond the end-of-year deadline, which happened two cycles ago, saying they would be "Hopefully getting a resolution before the end of this year, or making sure we have certainty in the new year."