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May 22, 2008

Reps. Barton and Stearns Join 150 Lawmakers in their Concern Over FCC Localism Mandates

WASHINGTON, DC --House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Joe Barton (R-TX) and committee member Cliff Stearns (R-FL) sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin yesterday expressing concern over recent FCC proposals that would dictate how broadcasters serve their local communities, placing additional regulatory burdens on local radio and television stations. To date, 28 senators and roughly 130 members of the House have sent letters to the FCC expressing concern over the proposed regulation.

"While the processing guidelines proposed in the Localism Report may not directly regulate broadcaster content, they create a perverse incentive to air programming aimed at satisfying the government, and not local communities," wrote the lawmakers. "The First Amendment concerns that caused the Commission to abandon programming guidelines two decades ago are just as relevant today."

Barton and Stearns join a chorus of lawmakers who have voiced concern over the FCC's proposed rulemaking. In addition to a letter authored by 23 senators on April 24, Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Ben Nelson (D-NE) and John Ensign (R-NV)have all written individual letters to the Commission expressing concern.

In addition, 123 members of the House of Representatives recently sent a letter to the Commission voicing opposition to "radical re-regulation" that would "turn back the clock on decades of deregulatory progress by imposing a series of new and burdensome regulations on broadcasters." North Carolina Representative Mike McIntyre (D-7th), Texas Representatives Gene Green (D-29th) and Charles Gonzalez (D-20th), Maine Representative Mike Michaud (D-2nd) and New York Representative John McHugh (R-23rd) have also voiced their concerns in individual letters to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin.

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The National Association of Broadcasters is a trade association that advocates on behalf of more than 8,300 free, local radio and television stations and also broadcast networks before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and the Courts. Information about NAB can be found at


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