After a Slight Delay, the Music Modernization Act Senate Fast-Track Process Began This Evening: Sources

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The US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

A mistake in a message notifying representatives the bill's hotlining was starting has been corrected and a new email is being sent to all 100 senators' offices, officially beginning the 24-hour countdown.

As of 6 p.m. EST Monday (Sept. 17), the fast-track hotline process to pass the Music Modernization Act had only been implemented on the Democratic side of the Senate, with an email to the Republican senators expected to occur at any minute, according to sources.

The hotline process -- used when bills are deemed non-controversial and have bi-partisan support -- ran into a glitch earlier in the day when a mistake was included an the original email notifying all the senators that the hotlining process was beginning, according to sources. That mistake has since been corrected, resulting in the need for the email's resending to all 100 senators' offices.

As soon as Republican senators get the corrected version of the email, a 24-hour window countdown begins. The way the process works is that all senators are given 24 hours to object to a hotlined bill. If no one objects within that window, "the bill is considered ready for unanimous consent,” according to a memo supplied to Billboard by the RIAA.

If the email to the Republican senators is sent Monday night, and no one objects, the Senate leadership will call up the bill and ask for unanimous consent for "the bill to be considered and passed," without a formal roll call. It is unclear if that would happen late Tuesday night or Wednesday.   

If, however, any senators object, "the leadership will usually attempt to ascertain the reason for the objection or objections: and discover whether it is a substantive objection or something that can be easily resolved." If it can be resolved, then the 24-hour window would start again.

In both of the above instances, if the bill passes, it still needs to be reconciled with the version passed by The House in April and then voted on again before it can go to President Donald Trump to be signed.

If the objections from a senator can't be resolved, then the bill would have to be scheduled for debate on the floor. With the Senate preoccupied with the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination, many in the industry doubt the bill would see any further action this year. That would mean the legislation process would have to start all over again in the new year, when the newly elected Congress is seated.