The long-awaited Rockefeller TV violence bill wlll be introduced before the August recess, says Steven Broderick, the press secretary to Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.). The bill will give the FCC the power to regulate cable and satellite violence, as well as broadcast.
It will also likely require the FCC to come up with a definition of indecent violent content, a call the FCC punted to Congress in a report it issued several months ago.
In that report, the FCC gave Congress some guidance on how to come up with a definition, and Broderick said that the Senator was likely to point out that the FCC is as capable of acting on those recommendations--it is the expert agency, after all--as Congress is.
Rockefeller last week introduced--with the support of Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii)-- a bill that would clarify the FCC has power to regulate fleeting profanities and images, which would essentially be a response to a federal court that in June told the FCC to explain why it had changed policy and found the fleeting expletives to be indecent.
At the time his staff said the violence bill would be soon to follow.
Rockefeller has been working for months on a bill that would pass constitutional challenge given that granting the FCC power to regulate violence--and to regulate content on cable and satellite-- is new territory.
"We fully understand that the bill has a long way to go," said Broderick. "If it gets through the Congress and is signed by the President, we fully expect court challenges. Given the nature of this type of legislation, he says, "our job is to create a proposal we believe that, thanks to FCC guidance, will survive."
He also is buoyed by the change in congressional leadership. In 2005, Rockefeller introduced a similar bill, but it did not go anywhere.
"Last time, Congress was under different management," says Broderick. "Times have changed and programing on TV has changed."
He says to look for more hearings on TV violence in the coming months.
In 2005, Rockefeller introduced legislation, S-616, the “Indecent and Gratuitous and Excessively Violent Programming Control Act” but it did not go anywhere.