Senate Judiciary to make its mark on PRA


Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has revised the agenda for Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee business meeting. In addition to taking a fourth crack at the reporters shield, the panel will mark-up the Performance Rights Act.

Four senators, including Leahy, have attached their names to S.379, and once again, the non-partisan nature of the issue is revealed by the list’s composition. Joining Leahy are Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

Hatch is a musician himself, and has said in the past that he wouldn’t mind seeing a royalty check in his mailbox every once in awhile.

The Committee will also consider matters related to the Patriot Act and generic drugs, and will also consider nominations for judges, US attorneys and a US marshal.

The committee has been hamstrung of late due to the fact that many of its members are also in the Finance Committee, which has been tied up with the Max Baucus (D-MT) version of health care reform. This week Leahy may have better luck getting a quorum.

RBR-TVBR observation: The fact that Sen. Hatch has signed on to PRA shows just how misunderstood the bill is. He seems to think he will personally benefit from the bill, but we can’t ever remember hearing him on the radio, and it’s hard to imagine where he’s getting enough airplay to make it worth investing the ink he’d need to endorse the tiny little check he might one day see.

Few musicians will benefit from this bill. But the few giant recording conglomerates will all benefit from this boondoggle.

Our suspicion is that PRA will play out in the Senate much as it has in the House. It’ll do OK in committee, and hopefully die on the floor. So far, 25 senators have come out in favor of the Local Radio Freedom Act, and against PRA.