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SBE Renews Its Push for FCC Advisor Bill

Society leaders were on the Hill again recently

The Society of Broadcast Engineers says it is continuing its lobbying for Congress to reintroduce a bill to beef up the technical personnel advising FCC commissioners.

Last week a group of SBE leaders including President Vinny Lopez visited a dozen congressional offices and reported a “favorable response from many of them.”

RW has reported that Sens. Olympia Snowe, Republican from Maine, and Mark Warner, Democrat from Virginia, have introduced S. 611, effectively replacing S.2881. The latter bill was introduced without success last year. SBE says it has worked with Snowe’s office for more than a year on the issue.

The engineering organization is hopeful a companion measure will be introduced soon in the House.

The goal is to add scientific expertise at the FCC policy level by authorizing each commissioner to add one additional professional assistant to the three each now has. The bill would require that the new assistants be electrical engineers or computer scientists. Current assistants are lawyers or economists.

Years ago, commissioners had engineering experts on staff. SBE and other engineering organizations believe many of the issues the commissioners regulate are so technical they should have such support again.