Senate Votes to Stop Martin Ownership Rules

The U.S. Senate Thursday approved a resolution of disapproval sponsored by Sen. Byron L. Dorgan, D-N.D, to block the revised newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rules ordered by the FCC in December.

The measure still needs passage from the House and faces a likely veto from President Bush. And the move—passed by voice vote without debate—is unlikely to sway FCC Kevin J. Martin from his stance that the December ownership order merely follows actual laws passed by Congress.

In a statement, Dorgan said the FCC rules would “open a gaping loophole for more mergers of newspapers and television stations across the country.”

The FCC order relaxed the ownership rules to allow newspapers to buy television stations in the top 20 markets and in others if certain conditions are met.

Dorgan and then-Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., led a similar move in 2003 to stop FCC rules, which were eventually blocked in court.