The PIRATE Act has cleared yet another hurdle. Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation voted unanimously Wednesday to support S.R. 1228 and refer it to the full Senate for a vote.
In response to the passage, National Association of Broadcasters President and CEO Gordon Smith released a statement saying, “NAB thanks the Senate Commerce Committee for unanimously passing the PIRATE Act. The bill would better equip the FCC to combat pirate radio operations that interfere with legal broadcasts and pose a threat to air traffic control communications. We appreciate the leadership of Sens. [Steve] Daines and [Gary] Peters on this issue and strongly urge Senate passage of the PIRATE Act.”
New York State Broadcasters Association President David Donovan also thanked the committee and said, “With this unanimous vote, we move another step closer to giving the FCC the tools it needs to address the growing illegal pirate radio problem. Illegal pirate radio continues to be a problem in New York. They interfere with airport communications and Emergency Alert Services. Illegal stations disregard all FCC and consumer protection laws. While the FCC has increased its enforcement efforts, additional tools are needed to address this vexing problem.”
An identical version of this bill, H.R. 583, passed the House of Representatives unanimously earlier this year. However, the bill was previously introduced to the 115th Congress in July 2018, and it stalled there. Broadcast associations appear to have more hope for progress in the 116th Congress.