House to vote on bipartisan STELA reauthorization


U.S. CongressThe House will vote the week of 7/21 on bipartisan legislation approved in May to reauthorize the nation’s satellite television law to ensure that millions of satellite subscribers continue to receive broadcast programming.

“Reauthorizing the nation’s satellite television law has been a goal shared by members throughout this committee and Congress. This must-pass legislation is the product of strong bipartisan work within both the Energy and Commerce and Judiciary Committees and we look forward to its consideration by the full House next week,” said full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). “The legislation makes targeted reforms to the video marketplace while ensuring that satellite service continues for those who rely on it as their best option to receive broadcast and other programming. We hope the Senate will follow the House’s lead and swiftly approve H.R. 4572 to ensure millions of Americans will continue to enjoy their programming uninterrupted.”

Authored by Upton, Walden, full committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), and Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna Eshoo (D-CA), H.R. 4572, the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014, reauthorizes the communications and copyright provisions of existing law for five years and makes a number of narrow reforms to better meet the needs of today’s video marketplace. The legislation:

•        Prohibits joint retransmission consent negotiations;

•        Provides broadcasters additional time to unwind business arrangements deemed no longer in the public interest by the FCC through its recent changes in how it calculates ownership interests under the media ownership rules;

•        Eliminates the “sweeps” week prohibition on signal change; and

•        Eliminates the set-top box integration ban.

The Energy and Commerce Committee approved H.R. 4572 on May 8, and the Judiciary Committee completed work on its STELA provisions, H.R. 5036, on July 10. The bill the House will vote on will be H.R. 4572 as passed by the Energy and Commerce Committee, with the language of H.R. 5036 added as a second title to the bill.

H.R. 4572 has received the support of groups including 21st Century Fox, ABC / Disney, the American Cable Association, the American Television Alliance, CBS, DIRECTV & Dish Network, and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association.