The House Commerce Committee today (March 3) approved tougher legislation to deal with violations of federal indecency rules on television and radio, increasing the maximum fine to $500,000 per incident. A third violation would result in a license revocation hearing under the new legislation.
The measure, introduced in January by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., is expected to go before the House for a vote Tuesday (March 9). A companion measure by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., will be taken up the following day.
The current maximum fine is $27,500 per incident.
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) would have discretion to tailor the fine to the incident and size of the station or company. Another amendment okayed in the bill would allow the FCC to fine performers, including radio DJs, up to $500,000 for indecent remarks if “willful intent” can be shown. Current rules allow the FCC to first warn a performer, then employ a fine of $11,000.
The new bill would also require that the FCC deal with indecency complaints within 180 days.