Brownback Intros Smut-Stopper

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Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) introduced his indecency fines amendment last week to a Department of Defense appropriations bill. The amendment included an add-on provision from Senator Conrad Burns (R-Mont.).

The Brownback amendment would basically just boost the FCC fines, while the Burns amendment to the amendment would take into account market size and ability to pay, essentially protecting small-market broadcasters.

Brownback's amendment comes up for a vote Monday and is said, at least by Brownback's people, to have widespread support.

One hitch could be a media ownership related provision that Democratic Senator Dorgan (N.D.) is said to have tried but failed to attach to the bill. He was said to be planning to re-craft the amendment over the weekend (his office had not returned calls at press time). If he does succeed in attaching the amendment, it could prove a poison pill.
The amendment reads as follows: “A broadcast station licensee or permittee; or an applicant for any broadcast license, permit, certificate, or other instrument or authorization issued by the Commission; and  determined by the Commission under paragraph (1) to have broadcast obscene, indecent, or profane language, the amount of any forfeiture penalty determined under this subsection shall not exceed $275,000 for each violation or each day of a continuing violation, except that the amount assessed for any continuing violation shall not exceed a total of $3,000,000 for any single act or failure to act.''
Notable for its absence is any mention of bringing licenses into play,  a violence harbor, or media ownership issues, all of which helped to bottle up Brownback's earlier bill.

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