Indecency Bill Passes In Senate Procedure
May 19, 2006 at 5:27 AM (PT)
The Senate passed Sen. SAM BROWNBACK's indecency bill late THURSDAY after Senate Majority Leader BILL FRIST's "fast-track" move to push the bill to a voice vote worked. FRIST's move brought the bill, previously stalled in the SENATE COMMERCE COMMITTEE, to a voice vote in a largely empty Senate chamber, where it unanimously passed.
The bill raises the ceiling for broadcast indecency from $32,500 to $325,000; it must now be reconciled with the House indecency bill that passed early last year and contains several provisions not in BROWNBACK's bill, including a three-strikes license revocation rule.
Meanwhile, the WALL STREET JOURNAL used the Freedom of Information Act to investigate the complaints sent to the FCC over indecent programming and discovered that, as the broadcast industry has complained, the vast majority appear to be generated by the PARENTS TELEVISION COUNCIL and other family and religious pressure groups. In the case of the indecency fine leveled against CBS for "WITHOUT A TRACE," the paper determined that all but three of the 6,500 complaints received by the FCC came from computer-generated form letters.