Public Broadcasting PolicyBase
Public Broadcasting Reform Act of 1998, H.R. 4067; no action takenRep. W.J. (Billy) Tauzin introduced this bill June 16, 1998, for Rep. Edward Markey and himself, and it was referred to the House Commerce Committee. No action was taken. See also Current's article, which contains links to this text.
A bill to establish the Commission for the Future of Public Broadcasting and authorize appropriations for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and for other purposes.
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 Reform Act of 1998'.
COMMISSION FOR THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC BROADCASTING
SEC. 101. ESTABLISHMENT.
There is established a commission to be known as the Commission for the Future of Public Broadcasting (in this title referred to as the 'Commission').
SEC. 102. MEMBERSHIP.
(a) APPOINTMENT- The Commission shall be composed of 9 members appointed not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, as follows:
(1) 2 members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
(2) 1 member appointed by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.
(3) 2 members appointed by the Majority Leader of the Senate.
(4) 1 member appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate.
(5) 2 members appointed by the President.
(6) 1 member who shall be selected by a majority of the other members and then appointed by the President, and who shall serve as the Chair of the Commission.
(b) QUALIFICATIONS- Each individual appointed to be a member of the Commission shall have extensive experience or expertise in--
(1) broadcasting or other mass media;
(2) education, the arts, or science; or
(3) business or corporate finance.
(c) TERMS- Each member of the Commission shall be appointed for the life of the Commission. A vacancy in the Commission shall not affect the powers of the Commission and shall be filled in the manner in which the original appointment was made.
(d) PROHIBITION OF ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION- Members shall serve without pay.
(e) QUORUM- 5 members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number may hold hearings.
(f) MEETINGS- The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chairperson or a majority of the members of the Commission. The Chairperson shall call the first meeting of the Commission not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
SEC. 103. FUNCTIONS.
(a) STUDY- The Commission shall conduct a study to identify and analyze various options for actions to accomplish the following objectives:
(1) FINANCIAL SUPPORT- Providing financial assistance to licensees and permittees of public broadcast stations for--
(A) ongoing support for--
(i) providing public telecommunications services; and
(ii) costs to public broadcast stations of utilizing new technologies, including advanced television and digital television services; and
(B) costs of converting public broadcast stations to utilization of new technologies (including advanced television and digital television services), which may involve limiting financial assistance by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to the equivalent of funding for one station per market.
(2) REPLACING FEDERAL APPROPRIATIONS FOR CPB- Capitalizing and operating a fiscal mechanism or entity to provide financial assistance to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting that replaces Federal appropriations for such purpose.
(3) REDUCING FEDERAL SPENDING FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING- Reducing Federal spending for the support of public broadcasting, including by--
(A) eliminating the Corporation for Public Broadcasting;
(B) limiting Federal financial assistance to the equivalent of funding for one public television broadcast station per market; and
(C) selling or leasing certain television broadcasting stations licensed to public television broadcasting entities, subject to such requirements as may be necessary to provide that--
(i) such sales and leases result in each market being limited to only one public television broadcast station that receives Federal financial assistance;
(ii) for each station sold or leased, an amount of the sale or lease proceeds approximating the net Federal assistance to such station over time is provided to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (or such other entity as may replace the Corporation) for use in supporting local public broadcasting services; and
(iii) such sales and leases do not result in viewers losing access to public broadcast services.
(4) FEE FOR EXEMPTION FROM PUBLIC-INTEREST BROADCASTING REQUIREMENTS- Establishing, by law, authority for television broadcasters to opt to pay fees as reimbursement to the public for relieving the broadcasters from obligations related to fulfilling content-based public interest broadcasting requirements and for collection of such fees to replace or offset Federal appropriations to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
(5) PUBLIC BROADCASTING PROGRAMMING- Carrying out the goals of public broadcasting by--
(A) enhancing the noncommercial mission of public television and radio;
(B) preventing any reduction in the ability or willingness of public broadcasters to fulfill noncommercial objectives;
(C) expanding the delivery of programming that is locally produced or concerns issues of local interest;
(D) enhancing delivery and availability of--
(i) high quality cultural programming specifically designed for historically underserved audiences, particularly minority audiences; and
(ii) high quality educational programming specifically designed for children;
(E) making such cultural and educational programming, materials, and services available to schools and libraries in an efficient and cost-effective manner; and
(F) establishing schedules for broadcasting that reduce or eliminate simultaneous broadcasting of identical programming by different stations and unnecessarily duplicative broadcasting.
(b) REPORT- Not later than 120 days after the first meeting of the Commission pursuant to section 102(f), the Commission shall submit a report to the Congress that--
(1) sets forth various options for actions to accomplish the objectives specified in subsection (a) of this section;
(2) analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of each such proposed action;
(3) includes the recommendations of the Commission regarding the most effective, efficient, and appropriate actions to ensure the future ability of public broadcasting in the United States to carry out its noncommercial mission; and
(4) includes proposals for administrative, legislative, and other actions to carry out such recommendations.
SEC. 104. POWERS.
(a) ASSISTANCE FROM FEDERAL AGENCIES-
(1) OBTAINING OFFICIAL DATA- The Commission may secure, directly from any department or agency of the United States, information necessary to enable it to carry out this title. Upon request of the Commission, the head of the department or agency shall furnish such information to the Commission.
(2) SUPPORT SERVICES- Upon request of the Commission, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration shall provide to the Commission such administrative and research personnel, support services, and facilities as are necessary for the Commission to carry out its responsibilities under this title. The Commission shall not be required to reimburse the Administration for any personnel, support services, and facilities provided pursuant to this paragraph.
(b) HEARINGS AND SESSIONS- The Commission may, for the purpose of carrying out this title, hold hearings, sit and act at times and places, take testimony, and receive evidence as the Commission considers appropriate.
(c) GIFTS, BEQUESTS, AND DEVISES- The Commission may accept, use, and dispose of gifts, bequests, or devises of services or property, both real and personal, for the purpose of aiding or facilitating the work of the Commission. Gifts, bequests, or devises of money and proceeds from sales of other property received as gifts, bequests, or devises shall be deposited in the Treasury and shall be available for disbursement upon order of the Commission.
(d) MAILS- The Commission may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other departments and agencies of the United States.
SEC. 105. DEFINITIONS.
For purposes of this title, the terms 'public broadcasting entity', 'public broadcast station', and 'public telecommunications services' having the meanings given such terms in section 397 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 397).
SEC. 106. TERMINATION.
The Commission shall terminate 60 days after submitting the report required under section 103(b).
AMENDMENTS TO PUBLIC TELECOMMUNICATIONS PROVISIONS OF COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934
SEC. 201. PREVENTION OF UNJUST ENRICHMENT IN SALE OF OVERLAPPING PUBLIC BROADCAST STATIONS.
(a) IN GENERAL- 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 the following new section:
'SEC. 399C. PREVENTION OF UNJUST ENRICHMENT IN SALE OF OVERLAPPING PUBLIC BROADCAST STATIONS.
'(a) SALE REQUIREMENTS- Upon application by a licensee or permittee of an overlapping public broadcast station for authority to assign or transfer the license or construction permit of the licensee or permittee for a station to another person or entity and for such person or entity to operate the station other than as a public broadcast station, the Commission may approve such assignment or transfer, and operation, only if all of the following requirements are met:
'(1) UNJUST ENRICHMENT- The licensee or permittee applying to assign or transfer the license or permit agrees (in such manner as the Commission may require) that, from any net proceeds received for the assignment or transfer, an amount equal to the net Federal investment in the station will be distributed as follows:
'(A) COSTS OF DETERMINING NET FEDERAL INVESTMENT- A portion of such amount, which is equal to the cost to the Commission to obtain the determination under subsection (b)(2) regarding the assignment or transfer, shall be distributed to the Commission.
'(B) PUBLIC TELECOMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES SUPPORT- A portion of such amount equal to the aggregate amount of all financial assistance provided for the planning, construction, and purchase of equipment and facilities provided by the public telecommunications facilities program shall be distributed to such program under section 391.
'(C) PUBLIC BROADCASTING SUPPORT- The remainder of such amount shall be provided to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (or such other entity as may replace the Corporation) and shall be distributed--
'(i) in the case of amounts pursuant to the assignment or transfer of a public television broadcast station, together with and in the same manner as amounts made available for distribution under section 396(k)(3)(A)(ii)(I); and
'(ii) in the case of amounts pursuant to the assignment or transfer of a public radio broadcast station, together with and in the same manner as amounts made available for distribution under section 396(k)(3)(A)(iii)(I).
Amounts distributed under this paragraph shall be available for use in accordance with such distribution only to the extent provided in advance in appropriation Acts.
'(2) FAIR VALUE- The Commission determines that the compensation provided for assigning or transferring the license or permit fairly reflects the value of the license or permit and any related facilities.
'(3) UNIVERSAL ACCESS- The Commission determines that the sale of the broadcast station will not diminish universal access to public broadcasting services.
'(b) NET FEDERAL INVESTMENT-
'(1) IN GENERAL- For purposes of this section, the net Federal investment with respect to any broadcast station shall be the sum of--
'(A) the aggregate amount of all financial assistance provided over time to the licensee or permittee of the station for use for such station under the public telecommunications facilities grant program under subpart A or by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting under subpart D; and
'(B) an amount for interest on such financial assistance, which shall be determined for the period beginning upon the providing of such assistance and ending upon the application for assignment of the license in accordance with this section, at a rate based upon the market yields on marketable public obligations of the United States outstanding during such period and having maturities comparable to such period.
'(2) DETERMINATION- Determinations of the amount of net Federal investment in a public broadcast station for purposes of any assignment or transfer authorized pursuant to this section shall be made on a case-by-case basis, using generally accepted accounting principles, by a private commercial accountant or assessor selected by the Commission.'.
(b) DEFINITION OF OVERLAPPING PUBLIC BROADCAST STATION- Section 397 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 397) is amended--
(1) by redesignating paragraphs (10) through (17) as paragraphs (11) through (18), respectively; and
(2) by inserting after paragraph (9) the following new paragraph:
'(10) The term 'overlapping public broadcast station' means--
'(A) a public broadcast television station having a Grade A contour (as determined under the regulations of the Commission)--
'(i) that reaches more than 50 percent of the population that is reached by the Grade A contour (as so determined) of any other public television broadcast station; or
'(ii) that reaches a population more than 50 percent of whom are also reached by the Grade A contour (as so determined) of any other public television broadcast station; and
'(B) a public broadcast radio station having a 1.0 mV/m signal contour (as determined under the regulations of the Commission)--
'(i) that reaches more than 50 percent of the population that is reached by the 1.0 mV/m signal contour (as so determined) of any other public radio broadcast station; or
'(ii) that reaches a population more than 50 percent of whom are also reached by the 1.0 mV/m signal contour (as so determined) of any other public radio broadcast station.'.
SEC. 202. USE OF BUSINESS OR INSTITUTIONAL LOGOGRAMS.
Section 399A of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 399a) is amended--
(1) in subsection (a), by striking 'any aural' and all that follows and inserting the following: 'an aural or visual message used for the exclusive purpose of identifying any corporation, company, or other organization that, except for the inclusion of any symbol or sign, consists of and is limited to the following words: 'This program sponsored in part by XXXX.' (the blank space being filled in with the name of such corporation, company, or other organization).';
(2) by striking subsection (b) and inserting the following new subsection:
'(b) Each public television station and each public radio station shall be authorized to broadcast any business or institutional logogram, except that broadcasts of such logograms may not interrupt regular programming and each broadcast of a logogram shall not exceed 10 seconds in duration.'; and
(3) by adding at the end the following new subsection:
'(d) APPLICABILITY- This section shall not apply to any public television station or public radio station that is receiving 70 percent or more of its annual operating expenses from one of the fiscal mechanisms described in the report required under title I of the Public Broadcasting Reform Act of 1998.'.
SEC. 203. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR PUBLIC TELECOMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES PROGRAM GRANTS.
Section 391 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 391) is amended by striking '1992, 1993, and 1994' and inserting '1999, 2000, and 2001'.
SEC. 204. REGULATIONS.
Not later than the expiration of the 180-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the Federal Communications Commission shall issue any regulations necessary to implement the amendments made by this title.
REAUTHORIZATION FOR CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING
SEC. 301. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
Section 396(k)(1) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 396(k)(1)) is amended by striking subparagraph (C) and inserting the following new subparagraph:
'(C) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS-
'(i) IN GENERAL- There is authorized to be appropriated to the Fund, for each of the fiscal years 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003, an amount equal to 40 percent of the total amount of non-Federal financial support received by public broadcasting entities during the fiscal year second preceding each such fiscal year, except that the amount so appropriated shall not exceed $475,000,000 for fiscal year 2000.
'(ii) TRANSITION TO DIGITAL BROADCASTING- In addition to the amount under clause (i), there is authorized to be appropriated to the Fund, for each of fiscal years 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003, $95,000,000 for the purchase of equipment to enable the transition of public broadcasting to digital broadcasting. Notwithstanding paragraph (3), any amounts appropriated pursuant to this clause shall be distributed only among licensees and permittees of public broadcasting stations. Such amounts may be used to purchase equipment on a collaborative basis to enable more than one station to benefit from cost savings realized from the joint purchase of equipment.'.
SEC. 302. MODIFICATION TO STATUTORY MANDATES.
Section 396(k)(6) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 396(k)) is amended by adding after subparagraph (B) the following new subparagraph:
'(C) INCENTIVES FOR VOLUNTARY CONSOLIDATION- Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of the Public Broadcasting Reform Act of 1998, the Corporation (or such other entity as may replace the Corporation) shall ensure that--
'(i) in areas where there are television stations that are overlapping public broadcast stations which agree to consolidate operations and equipment in a manner such that they are reduced to a single public broadcast station operating under a single broadcast license, the total funds made available to licensees or permittees of such stations are not more than 150 percent of the amount that would be provided if such areas were served by a single public television broadcast station, except that funds may be provided for such a station only if the Corporation (or such other replacement entity) determines that--
'(I) the distinct educational or minority needs of the area are served, including through the use of multiplexed programming;
'(II) such multiplexed programming is carried on local cable systems serving the area, except that such cable systems shall not be required to carry multiplexed channels that exceed the number of analog public television channels carried on the date of the enactment of the Public Broadcasting Reform Act of 1998; and
'(III) universal access to public television will not be diminished; and
'(ii) in areas where there are radio stations that are overlapping public broadcast stations which agree to consolidate operations and equipment in a manner such that they are reduced to a single public broadcast station operating under a single broadcast license or permit, the total funds made available to licensees or permittees of such stations are not more than 150 percent of the amount that would be provided if such areas were served by a single public radio broadcast station, except that funds may be provided for such a station only if the Corporation (or such other replacement entity) determines that--
'(I) the consolidated station meets or exceeds audience service criteria or community support criteria, which shall be developed by the Corporation (or such other replacement entity) in consultation with public radio licensees and permittees; and
'(II) universal access to public radio will not be diminished.'
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