The House voted 389-38 to increase indecency fines for radio and TV stations from the current cap of $32,500 to half a million dollars. And of course, the bill doesn't require the FCC to clarify or state their criteria for what constitutes indecency. The Senate still has to approve its own version of the bill, and then a compromise bill will need to be hammered out, approved by both houses and signed by Bush. This whole process failed last year due to the FCC ownership controversy, but that issue is now finalized so the bill is expected to be succesful this time around.
The House version approved today would:
Raise the maximum fine for broadcasters from $32,500 to $500,000 per violation, and for individual entertainers from $11,000 to $500,000 per incident. The fines are the same for non-commercial and commercial stations alike.
Allow the FCC to issue a fine against an individual without first issuing a warning.
Require the FCC to respond to a consumer's indecency complaint within six months.
Include protections for network affiliate stations that did not know what was to be broadcast by the network so they are not held responsible for indecent programming.