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Rep. Upton Introduces Anti-Indecency Bill in Congress

Jan 26, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Officially getting the anti-indecency ball rolling in the new Congress, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., introduced legislation Tuesday night that would raise the cap on fines for off-color broadcasts from $32,500 to $500,000.

The congressman’s bill includes a three-strikes-and-you’re-out provision that would put in jeopardy the licenses of stations with three indecency violations. It also includes language making clear that the Federal Communications Commission can fine performers who utter indecencies–not just the broadcast station licensee. And it includes a provision requiring the FCC to act on indecency complaints within 180 days of their filing at the agency.

In a statement, Rep. Upton said the legislation is identical to a measure approved March 11, 2004, by a 391-22 vote in the House. That measure failed to be enacted into law before Congress adjourned.

“At their current levels, fines are more of a cost of doing business rather than a deterrent,” the congressman said. “With passage of this legislation I am confident that broadcasters will think twice about pushing the envelope.”

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., meanwhile, was expected to introduce legislation Wednesday in the Senate that would raise the cap on indecency fines to $325,000, a spokesman said.