Senate Ups Fines for TV Smut - TvTechnology

Senate Ups Fines for TV Smut

A bill raising fines for broadcast indecency passed the Senate Thursday night by a unanimous consent resolution. The Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act from Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) pushed fines from $32,500 per violation to $325,000, with a cap of $3 million. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) was respons
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A bill raising fines for broadcast indecency passed the Senate Thursday night by a unanimous consent resolution. The Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act from Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) pushed fines from $32,500 per violation to $325,000, with a cap of $3 million.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) was responsible for clearing the way for the bill, which had been stuck in the Commerce Committee. Unanimous consent essentially means no senator objected to having a full floor vote on the bill. Frist reportedly tried a unanimous consent move on the House version of the indecency bill earlier this month, but that one was shot down. Frist issued the following statement regarding the Brownback bill:

"The Senate took a great step forward tonight to protect children and families from offensive images broadcast directly into their living rooms. Parents should be able to watch television with their children without worrying about exposing them to unsuitable content.

"Faced with only minimal penalties, some broadcasters for too long have flouted these standards with no regard for the negative impact on impressionable children. This bill seeks to change that by establishing greater consequences for broadcasters' bottom line through increased fines for violations.

"This is simple, straightforward legislation that provides greater enforcement of decency standards and holds broadcasters accountable without infringing on their freedom of speech.

"I'm pleased the Senate has taken action to protect American families from indecency on the public airwaves."

Said Brownback, whose legislation had languished since last January, "I am glad the Senate took action and increased fines for broadcasters who show indecent material. Radio and television waves are public property, and the companies who profit from using the public airwaves should face meaningful fines for broadcasting indecent material."

The House must next approve the bill before it goes to the White House.