House scheduled to consider Upton indecency bill

By Staff
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled today to consider U.S. Rep. Fred Upton's legislation to clean up the public airwaves.
The Energy and Commerce Committee approved the St. Joseph Republican's bill, H.R. 3717, the "Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004," last Wednesday by a vote of 49-1.
Upton's bill raises fines the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) can levy for indecency to a cap of $500,000 per violation. Under current law, the maximum the FCC can fine per violation is $27,500.
The measure also mandates a license revocation hearing after the third offense by a broadcaster and also institutes a 180-day "shot clock" for the FCC to determine if broadcasters were in violation of indecency standards.
Upton also included language to protect affiliates from fines in instances like the Super Bowl where they did not know what was soon to be broadcast by the network.
Upton said using the public airwaves comes with the responsibility to follow the FCC decency standards that apply to programming that airs during the family hours of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. -- the likeliest times that children may be tuned in.

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