Senators try to roadblock PRA


Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and John Barrasso (R-WY), co-sponsors of the Senate version of the Local Radio Freedom Act (LRFA), have fired off a letter to the two Senate party leaders asking them to keep the Performance Rights Act that came out of the Judiciary Committee off of the floor.

The letter went to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

The wrote, “By many estimations, passage of this legislation would result in potentially billions of dollars flowing from local broadcasters to the recording industry and would have a devastating impact on the local radio broadcasting system as we know it.”

They pointed out that the age-old understanding between radio and music was still in working order. “We believe that artists and their labels are currently more than fairly compensated by local radio stations in the form of free and unparalleled promotion.”

Among the ill effects would be damaging the ability of broadcasters to respond to the challenge in times of emergency – especially when wires are knocked down or otherwise disabled and over-the-air broadcasting becomes the only way to get critical emergency information to the masses.

Noting the widespread support for LRFA in the House and growing support in the Senate, they concluded, “This legislation clearly evokes strong opposition that transcends party affiliation. As leaders of our two parties, we ask that you oppose any effort to move this bill, either as a stand alone measure or as part of a broader legislative package.”

RBR-TVBR observation: There are numerous sneaky parliamentary tricks that can be used to get an unpopular or controversial bill passed into law, like sticking it on a piece of unrelated must-pass legislation or slipping it in during reconciliation.

Here’s wishing Lincoln and Barrasso great success in a) convincing Reid and McConnell of the worthiness of the cause; and b) keeping them vigilant to prevent any of the numerous parliamentary ploys from being put into play.