Smut Bill Hits House Wednesday

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Legislation raising indecency fines and toughening enforcement continues on a fast track.

The House version of an indecency bill (HR 310) is headed to the floor for a vote Wednesday, where it is expected to pass easily.

The bill, which would up indecency fines and toughen enforcement, including bringing station licenses into play for violators, passed the commerce Committee 46 to 2 last week. As with the prevsious version, it was introduced by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and co-sponsored by Ed Markey (D-Mass.).
Some form of tougher indecency legislation appears almost a sure thing. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, has said the Senate won't block the bill, as it did last year.

The Senate version, introduced by Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) last month, would also up fines, though only by 10 times, to $325,000, rather than the $500,000 maximum in the house bill.

Brownback's bill simply ups the fines, and does not include the deadline for FCC action on complaints, the GAO study of FCC's enforcement, the license renewal element, the airing of PSA's as a potential element of sanction, or other provisions.
The House and Senate versions will need to be reconciled, a process that eventually killed indecency legislation in the last Congress, but is not expected to do so this time around.

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