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Committee Passes FCC Reauthorization

Committee Passes FCC Reauthorization

The Senate Commerce Committee has passed and sent to the full Senate a bill to reauthorize the FCC through fiscal year 2008.
If passed, the measure would give the FCC more time to review media ownership rules in the future. Currently the law calls for a review every two years, a standard the commission has never been able to meet. Committee Chairman John McCain’s bill to reauthorize the agency calls for a review every four years.
FCC Chairman Michael Powell supported the change. He has said the current pace is hard on the agency and its staff.
McCain, a Republican from Arizona, also modified the review standard to clarify that the commission can repeal, strengthen, limit or retain media ownership rules. Courts have found the current standard only lets the commission relax or eliminate the rules.
The bill allows the agency to increase its fines by a factor of 10.