The Senate last week passed the AMBER Alert bill by unanimous consent. The act, sponsored by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), creates a national AMBER alert coordinator in the Justice Department to "expand the network of AMBER alerts and coordinate the issuance of region-wide alerts." It also provides federal money to help fund education and training for state alert programs. The AMBER alert was created in 1996 in Texas as a combined effort of the media and law enforcement to issue information about child abductions via broadcast media and highway signage. The alert was named after 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped and murdered in Arlington, Texas. A companion bill was introduced in the House Sept. 4.
The federal district court in Manhattan Sept. 4 dismissed poet Sarah Jones's challenge of an indecency fine levied against a Portland, Ore., station for airing her anti-misogynist rap, "Your Revolution." Jones argues that the fine hurt her financially by stifling airplay of her song, which uses sexual slang to attack derogatory characterizations of women in much of today's rap music.
The judges agreed with the FCC's claim that Jones's complaint should first be filed with the commission. KBOO(FM) was notified in May 2001 that it was being fined $7,000 for airing "Your Revolution" as part of a public-affairs program. KBOO has already appealed the FCC ruling, but Jones's attorneys went to court under the apparently incorrect assumption that they had no standing at the commission because the fine was levied against the station.