Hinchey Intros Sweeping Rereg Bill


New York Democratic Rep. and longtime deregulation foe Maurice Hinchey has introduced a sweeping bill that would require broadcasters to be fair, roll back the Federal Communications Commission's June 2 reregulation decision and the 39% station-ownership cap Congress enacted two just two months ago and try to break up TV production-distribution combinations.

The bill, coined the Media Ownership Reform Act of 2004, or MORA, currently has no co-sponsors, though Hinchey's office said they will be sought in earnest after the spring recess.

The bill's chances for passage are probably somewhere between slim and none, but given the current climate in Washington, including media dereg-rollback provisions of a Senate indecency bill, Hinchey spokesman Kevin O'Connell says the chances are at least better than they've ever been.

Not surprisingly, National Association of Broadcasters Dennis Wharton says the group does not support the bill.