Blackburn Devotes A Day To BAUM Act


Pencil Thursday, Dec. 6 on your calendar if you’re one of the many media companies invested in the end to the nation’s “digital divide.”

It will likely be one of the last hearings to be chaired by Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn.

The Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, chaired by Rep. Blackburn, will convene a hearing at 10am next Thursday with the title “RAY BAUM’S Act: A Bipartisan Foundation for Bridging the Digital Divide.”

If “white space” build-out and 5G technology is of interest to you, note that the session will be held in Rayburn HOB, Room 2123, on Capitol Hill.

The session will dive into the inner workings of the law named for former Energy and Commerce Committee Staff Director Ray Baum, a longtime friend and telecommunication advisor to fellow Oregonian Chairman Greg Walden. Baum lost his battle with cancer in February 2018. RAY BAUM’s Act was signed into law one month later.

Among other things, RAY BAUM’S Act reauthorized the FCC for the first time in 28 years.

It also includes the Senate’s MOBILE NOW legislation and improves public safety, spurs the deployment of 5G networks, “reduces the regulatory barriers to broadband investment,” and authorizes reimbursement for broadcasters who were displaced in the successful broadcast incentive auction.

Blackburn called the passage of RAY BAUM’S Act “a huge win for the American people … one of the most comprehensive and significant telecommunications accomplishments in the last two decades. This bipartisan law was a significant step forward in our efforts to close the digital divide.”

Thursday’s hearing will see “industry stakeholders” share details about “the positive impact the RAY BAUM’S Act is making across the country.”

The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony for the hearing were forthcoming as of Friday morning, Nov. 30.

The event could be Blackburn’s last as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. On November 6, she defeated former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen in the 2018 U.S. Senate race, becoming the first woman in the Volunteer State to be elected to the upper body of Congress.