Rep. Stearns Intros Bill to Enhance FCC Tech Expertise

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Washington - Jun 3, 2011 - A substantial step toward the SBE's objective of adding engineering expertise to the staffs of the FCC Commissioners has been realized. On June 2, Representative Cliff Stearns (R-FL) introduced House Bill 2102, a companion bill to Senate Bill 611, introduced earlier this year by Senator Olympia Snow (R-ME).

This action is one the Society of Broadcast Engineers has followed closely. In March 2011, representatives of the SBE's national leadership met with Representative Stearns' Washington staff and requested the Congressman consider sponsoring the legislation in the House.

With bills now introduced in both Houses of Congress, the SBE says it will work to gain co-sponsors for each bill and continue to push for its adoption.

The SBE urges its members to contact their representatives to voice support of S.611 and H.R.2102. The suggestion is valid for SBE non-members as well.

If passed, both the Senate and House Bills would authorize each of the five FCC Commissioners to appoint a fourth staff assistant who is an engineer or computer scientist. This will provide first-hand competent input to each of the Commissioners tasked with making often highly technical decisions in docket proceedings and adjudicatory matters, and a mechanism for bringing the competency of the Commission's staff engineers directly to the Commissioners.

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