The measure would remove the force of law from the FCC’s relaxed cross-ownership rules approved on party lines at the Commission last December. S.J. Res 28 is being put forth in the House as well, by Jay Inslee (D-WA).
Another bill is up for consideration, S.2507, the DTV Border Fix Act of 2007. This bill, put forth by Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) proposes adjustments to the DTV rules for stations that receive a significant portion of their viewership — and income — from citizens of Mexico or Canada. The problem, of course, is that citizens of those two nations are NOT facing the end of analog television on 2/17/09, and US television operators who count them as part of their target audience need to make sure they can still receive over-air signals.
RBR/TVBR observation: The earlier version of the Dorgan measure passed easily in the Senate, but did get into veto-proof territory. Let’s consider this for a moment. Since the mildness of the minimal package pushed through the FCC by Chairman Kevin Martin on 12/18/07 can be compared to that pushed through by Michael Powell on 6/2/03 in terms of light years, it is questionable if as many Republicans will venture across the aisle to support Dorgan as did last time around. And even though he has a key supporter in Ted Stevens (R-AK), we’d say the odds are that the measure will be even less veto-proof this time around.
And Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez is recommending a veto.
With Democrats running the show in both Houses, unlike last time around when the bill was blocked in the House, Dorgan’s Resolution may make it off Capitol Hill, but it may stall on George W. Bush’s side of the Mall.