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Congressman Gene Green

Representing the 29th District of Texas

Green Amendment Included in Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act

March 3, 2004
Press Release
Washington, DC - The House Energy and Commerce Committee this morning approved H.R. 3717, the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act, which now includes a provision offered by Congressman Gene Green (D-Houston) to protect non-network owned affiliates from fines resulting from network programming.  Green offered and withdrew an amendment on this topic during Subcommittee mark-up and a negotiated provision is included in Sec. 3 of H.R. 3717.
 
H.R. 3717 increases the maximum fine for incidents of indecency over the public airwaves from $27,500 to $500,000 for license holders, networks, and individuals.  The legislation also directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to weigh past indecency violations during broadcast license acquisition and renewal proceedings.  In addition, after 3 FCC fines for indecency during one license term, a licensee must undergo an FCC license revocation hearing. 
 
Its important to direct increased punishments in this bill against those responsible for broadcast indecency.  When TV affiliate station owners merely pass on network programming, it is difficult to hold them responsible, said Green.  Now the FCC has the necessary flexibility to enforce decency rules fairly.
Under Sec. 3 of H.R. 3717, broadcast affiliates not owned by the networks shall not be liable for forfeiture penalties for broadcasting obscene, indecent or profane material if the material was provided by the network and the affiliate was not given a reasonable opportunity to review the programming in advance, or the affiliate had no reasonable reason to believe the programming would contain obscene, indecent or profane material.