Fred Upton indecency bill passes House

Published 8:06 am Friday, March 12, 2004

By Staff
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House of Representatives Thursday overwhelmingly approved U.S. Rep. Fred Upton's, R-Mich., legislation to clean up the public airwaves.
Upton's legislation, H.R. 3717, the Broadcast Indecency Act, would raise the amount the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) can fine for indecency from $27,000 to $500,000 per violation.
H.R. 3717 passed the House 391-22 with one member voting "present."
Earlier this week, the Senate Commerce Committee unanimously approved similar legislation by a 23-0 vote.
The full Senate is expected to consider the measure in the near future.
Upton's bill also mandates a license revocation hearing after a 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.
Additionally, the bill allows the FCC to fine networks and entertainers who willfully or intentionally violate indecency standards up to $500,000.
Upton introduced H.R. 3717 Jan. 21 to increase the financial penalties the FCC can impose on broadcasters who air obscenity, indecency and profanity on television and radio.
The Bush administration came out in support of the bill on Jan. 28.
Also, March 11 the White House Office of Management and Budget released a statement in support of Upton's bill that said, "The administration strongly supports House passage of H.R. 3717. This legislation will make broadcast television and radio more suitable for family viewing by giving the (FCC) the authority to impose meaningful penalties on broadcasters that air obscene or indecent material over the public airwaves."