Public Broadcasting PolicyBase
The Public Broadcasting Financial Resources Enhancement ActThis bill for the future funding of public broadcasting was introduced May 9, 1996, by Sen. Larry Pressler (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and its communications subcommittee. The Senate did not act on the bill. Text was obtained from Library of Congress web site. Related article in Current. Pressler's introductory remarks.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Public Broadcasting Financial Resources Enhancement Act of 1996'.
SEC. 2. PURPOSE.
The purpose of this Act is to ensure that public broadcasting stations have sufficient resources--
(1) to carry on the mission of public broadcasting stations to provide Americans with noncommercial programming and services which advance education, support culture, and foster citizenship;
(2) to promote continued efficiency and effectiveness in the provision of public broadcasting services, through technological advances and, where appropriate, through mergers, consolidations, and joint operating agreements;
(3) to preserve and enhance the geographic and cultural diversity of public broadcasting programs and services;
(4) to support public broadcasting services to rural and underserved areas and audiences, and to ensure the universal availability of public broadcasting services;
(5) to create and deliver creative and diverse programming and services of high quality and excellence;
(6) to preserve and protect their editorial integrity and independence; and
(7) to continue to pioneer new telecommunications technologies and to adapt those technologies for educational and public service purposes.
TITLE I--EARNED INCOME OPPORTUNITIES
SEC. 101. ENHANCED UNDERWRITING.
(a) Business or Institutional Logos: Section 399A of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C.399A) is amended:
(1) by striking `exclusive' in subsection (a);
(2) by striking `organization, and which is not used for the purpose of promoting the products, services, or facilities of such corporation, company, or other organization.' in subsection (a) and inserting `organization.'; and
(3) by inserting `established' before `business' in subsection (b).
(b) Services, Facilities, and Products: Section 399B(a) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 399B(a)) is amended by inserting `a comma and `other than through a strictly quantifiable comparative description,' after `promote'.
SEC. 102. TELEVISION CHANNEL EXCHANGES.
Subpart E of part IV of title III of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 397 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end thereof the following:
`SEC. 399C. TELEVISION CHANNEL EXCHANGES.
`(a) Petition: The licensees or permittees of commercial and public broadcast television stations may file a joint petition with the Commission requesting an exchange of channels (including public television stations on VHF channels to be exchanged for UHF channels). Within 90 days after receiving such a petition, the Commission shall amend the television table of allotments and modify the licenses or permits of the petitioners to specify operation on the exchanged channels if the Commission finds that--
`(1) the stations serve substantially the same market; and
`(2) the consideration paid to the public broadcast television licensee or permittee--
`(A) fairly reflects the value of the exchange of channels and related facilities; and
`(B) will be dedicated to the provision of public broadcasting services.
`(b) Other Considerations Prohibited: In considering a petition under subsection (a), the Commission may not consider proposals by other parties to become licensees or permittees on the channels to be exchanged.
`(c) Ineligibility for Grants: Neither a noncommercial educational television station that exchanges a channel for consideration under subsection (a), nor any transferee or assignee of the license associated with that station, may receive funds under subsection 396 after the exchange occurs, except to the extent provided for by the Commission on the basis of the contribution to the public broadcasting system made by that station, transferee, or assignee.'.
SEC. 103. CONVERSION OF STATIONS TO COMMERCIAL STATUS.
Subpart E of part IV of title III of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 397 et seq.), as amended by section 103, is amended by adding at the end thereof the following:
`SEC. 399D. USE OF PUBLIC BROADCASTING STATIONS FOR REMUNERATION.
`(a) In General:
`(1) Use of overlapping station capacity: Subject to the requirements and limitations of this section, the licensee or licensees of 2 overlapping stations may, notwithstanding the allocated and licensed status of such stations as noncommercial educational television stations, operate one such station for remunerative purposes, including the transmission of commercial television programming originated by such licensee or by another party and transmission of subscription television or pay-per-view services. Such commercial operation will not result in a modification of the noncommercial educational allocation of the license held by the station.
`(2) Conditions for use: The licensee or licensees of overlapping stations intending to operate one of such stations for remunerative purposes pursuant to paragraph (1) shall file with the Commission a joint operating agreement or other instrument providing assurances that--
`(A) the remuneration of such operations (in excess of the costs of the commercial and public television operations of such licensee) is dedicated to the provision of public broadcasting services on the other overlapping station; and
`(B) the station operated for remunerative purposes is, but for the remunerative operations, otherwise operated consistently with the provisions of this Act and the rules and policies of the Commission applicable to such operations.
`(3) Ineligibility for grants: No noncommercial educational television station operating under an agreement or other instrument filed under paragraph (2), and no transferee of such station, or assignee of the license associated with such station, may receive any funds under section 396, except to the extent provided for by the Commission on the basis of the contribution to the public broadcasting system made by that station, transferee, or assignee.
`(b) Sale Permitted: Upon application by the licensee of 2 or more overlapping public television stations, the Commission shall approve the assignment of one of the licenses of such licensee for a television station to another person or entity, without rulemaking or opening the licensed channel to general application, and shall permit such person or entity to operate such station as a commercial television station, if--
`(1) the licensee assigning such license will dedicate all compensation in excess of costs of sale received for such assignment to the support of the local noncommercial educational broadcast operations of the retained station; and
`(2) the compensation provided to the licensee for assigning such license reflects the value of the license and related facilities.
`(c) Definitions: For purposes of this section--
`(1) Overlapping stations: The term `overlapping stations' means 2 or more public television stations--
`(A) that serve the same market;
`(B) with respect to which the Grade A contour of one of such stations reaches more than 50 percent of the Grade A population reached by the other such station; and
`(C) with respect to which less than 20 percent of the population reached by either station is unduplicated by the other.
`(2) Television market: The term `television market' has the meaning provided in section 76.55(e)(1) of the Commission's rules (47 C.F.R. 76.55(e)(1)).'.
TITLE II--PUBLIC BROADCASTING EMPOWERMENT COMMISSION
SEC. 201. ESTABLISHMENT.
There is established a commission to be known as the Commission on Public Broadcasting Empowerment (referred to in this section as the `Commission').
SEC. 202. DUTIES.
(a) Study and Recommendations: The Commission shall--
(1) conduct a comprehensive study of--
(A) alternatives for providing long-term funding for public broadcasting services other than with appropriated Federal funds, with particular emphasis on the development of earned income opportunities;
(B) the feasibility of generating revenue for a trust fund based upon spectrum grants or other sources of funding;
(C) the effectiveness and adequacy of those means of generating revenue for public broadcasting services made available by title I of this Act;
(D) the impact that particular funding methods may have on the purpose, role, and availability of public broadcasting, particularly in smaller markets;
(E) funding distribution formulas for smaller markets that take into account the special nature of such markets, including the additional infrastructure investment necessary to obtain sufficient audience reach; and
(F) opportunities for reducing the cost of public broadcasting through increased efficiencies of production, distribution, and operation without impairing universal access to public broadcasting; and
(2) submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and to the Committee on Commerce of the House of Representatives a report setting forth the results of its study and making recommendations for--
(A) long-term funding for public broadcasting that would not compromise its essential noncommercial nature;
(B) improving the economic efficiency with which public broadcasting operates;
(C) guaranteeing universal access, particularly to rural and underserved areas; and
(D) stimulating the development of regional and local programming centers in order to increase geographic diversity in the origination of programming.
(b) Interim and Final Reports: The Commission shall submit a preliminary report under subsection (a)(2) not later than December 31, 1997, and a final report not later than December 31, 1998.
(c) Trust Fund Established:
(1) In general: There is hereby established in the Treasury of the United States a trust fund to be known as the `Public Broadcasting Trust Fund'.
(2) Accounts: The Public Broadcasting Trust Fund shall consist of such accounts as may be provided by law. Each such Account shall consist of such amounts as may be appropriated, credited, or paid to it as provided by law.
(3) Expenditures: Amounts in the Public Broadcasting Trust Fund shall be available for making such expenditures as may be provided by law.
(4) Management: The Public Broadcasting Trust Fund shall be managed in accordance with the provisions of section 9602 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
SEC. 203. MEMBERSHIP.
(1) Appointments: The Commission shall be composed of 12 voting members and 3 ex officio members to be appointed not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act as follows:
(A) Senators: One Senator shall be appointed by the Majority Leader of the Senate, and one Senator shall be appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate.
(B) Members of the House of Representatives: One Member of the House of Representatives shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and one Member of the House of Representatives shall be appointed by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.
(C) Additional members: Eight members shall be appointed by the President, without regard to political affiliation, on the basis of demonstrated expertise in public broadcasting, education, entertainment, finance, or investment.
(2) Ex officio members: The Secretary of Commerce, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and the President of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting shall serve on the Commission as nonvoting ex officio members.
(b) Vacancies: Any vacancy on the Commission shall be filled in the manner in which the original appointment was made. The vacancy shall not affect the power of the remaining members to execute the duties of the Commission.
(c) Chairperson and Vice Chairperson: The Commission shall elect a chairperson and a vice chairperson from among the members of the Commission.
(d) Quorum: Eight members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for all purposes, except that a lesser number may constitute a quorum for the purpose of holding hearings.
SEC. 204. COMPENSATION.
(a) Pay: Members of the Commission shall serve without compensation.
(b) Travel Expenses: Members of the Commission shall be allowed reasonable travel expenses, including a per diem allowance, in accordance with section 5703 of title 5, United States Code, when performing duties of the Commission.
SEC. 205. POWERS.
(a) Meetings: The Commission shall first meet not later than 30 days after the date on which all members are appointed, and the Commission shall meet thereafter on the call of the chairperson or a majority of the members.
(b) Hearings and Sessions: The Commission may hold such hearings, sit and act at such times and places, take such testimony, and receive such evidence as the Commission considers appropriate. The Commission may administer oaths or affirmations to witnesses appearing before it.
(c) Access to Information: The Commission may secure directly from any Federal agency information necessary to enable it to carry out this title, if the information may be disclosed under section 552 of title 5, United States Code. Subject to the previous sentence, on the request of the chairperson or vice chairperson of the Commission, the head of such agency shall furnish such information to the Commission.
(d) Use of Facilities and Services: Upon the request of the Commission, the head of any Federal agency may make available to the Commission any of the facilities and services of such agency.
(e) Personnel From Other Agencies: On the request of the Commission, the head of any Federal agency may detail any of the personnel of such agency to serve as an Executive Director of the Commission or assist the Commission in carrying out the duties of the Commission. Any detail shall not interrupt or otherwise affect the civil service status or privileges of the Federal employee.
(f) Voluntary Service: Notwithstanding section 1342 of title 31, United States Code, the chairperson of the Commission may accept for the Commission voluntary services provided by a member of the Commission.
SEC. 206. TERMINATION.
The Commission shall terminate 30 days after the date of the submission of the final report of the Commission to Congress.
SEC. 207. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
(a) Commission: There are authorized to be appropriated to the Commission such sums as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of title II of this Act.
(b) Corporation for Public Broadcasting: Section 396(k)(1)(C) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 396(k)(1)(C)) is amended--
(1) by striking `and' after `1995,'; and
(2) by striking `1996.' and inserting `1996, and $250,000,000 for each of fiscal years 1998, 1999, and 2000.'.
Public Broadcasting PolicyBase
A service of Current Publishing Committee and the National Public Broadcasting Archives
Originally posted May 11, 1996