Senate Bill 611, “A Bill to provide greater technical resources to FCC Commissioners,” is now in the hopper, introduced by two members of the Senate Commerce Committee, including one from each party. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Mark Warner (D-VA) would create a fourth advisory position for each of the five FCC commissioners, who would have either electrical engineering or computer science expertise.
If this story seems vaguely familiar, there is a good reason for it. The same two senators introduced a very similar bill — S. 2881 – in the 111th Congress. However, although the bill made it out of committee about a year ago, it never made it to the finish line, so the duo is trying again.
The Society of Broadcast Engineers is actively pushing the legislation. In a statement, SBE said, “The SBE has been very active in encouraging the introduction and eventual passing of this bill and has worked closely with Senator Snowe’s office for more than a year. SBE has also been working to encourage a companion bill in the House. Earlier this week, a group of SBE leadership, led by SBE President, Vinny Lopez, made 12 visits to Congressional offices in Washington (reported on Wednesday in SBE-news), and received a favorable response from many of them. Our hope is that a House Bill will soon follow.”