Senators Don't Want Decency Bill On Fast Track
May 4, 2006

We reported yesterday that Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) is attempting to bring back the House Of Representatives' version of the indecency bill that calls for major increases in fines against broadcasters. Frist was reportedly attempting to "hotline" a version of the indecency legislation which was already approved by the House, meaning that the Senate could pass the bill quickly. However, it looks like his quest for a quick vote met with resistance from both Republicans and Democrats on Wednesday.

"There are multiple problems on both sides," Frist spokeswoman Amy Call told Reuters. "He wanted to start the process of moving the bill forward." Call said lawmakers would now try to resolve the concerns that are holding up the vote.

A parents watchdog group earlier this week criticized Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens for failing to act more quickly on the House bill, which was passed more than a year ago and would boost indecency fines to as much as $500,000 per violation. Frist's move would bypass the committee for a Senate floor vote. 

Stevens had been holding off on the legislation because he wanted to give the broadcasting industry a chance to police itself before passing more indecency regulations. Stevens said he would not object to Frist's move, according to Reuters.

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Jon Zellner
EVP/Programming Operations

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