Like Countable?

Install the App
TRY NOW

house Bill H.R. 5035

Should a Law Governing Retransmission Rules for TV Services be Reauthorized?

Argument in favor

STELAR — which this bill would reauthorize — is an important law that allows subscription TV services to provide broadcast programming to rural customers who aren’t served by local broadcast networks. If this law were to expire, many rural customers would lose access to network television programming.

jimK's Opinion
···
12/10/2019
Rural communities need access to local news sources and regional concerns that only ‘local’ media can provide. TV broadcast signals which cannot reasonably be counted on to reach them should be allowed to be rebroadcast so they can be just as well as informed in a timely manner as those lucky enough to be in-range of a regional broadcasting TV tower. If we are truly to be a government of the people, then all of the people should have equivalent access to timely information of both regional and national import.
Like (40)
Follow
Share
Ticktock's Opinion
···
12/10/2019
Why all the concern about TV broadcasting? The same should be done for internet service. Both should be provided to all citizens free. Today even more than TV the internet provides more information than almost any other media but it should be regulated as any other media such as TV. There is too much of the wild west on the internet today. There needs to be regulations established that provide a more responsible platform.
Like (18)
Follow
Share
Brian's Opinion
···
12/10/2019
Rural populations do need access to network television programming, especially in this time when cable news with a partisan slant is dominating some airwaves. This should be reauthorized so that rural communities can get a variety of sources for their information and news.
Like (8)
Follow
Share

Argument opposed

While STELAR was necessary 30 when it was first enacted 30 years ago, it’s no longer necessary due to changes in the media delivery landscape. Today, there’s no technological impediment to delivering local station signals to all markets, and the satellite companies that benefit from STELAR are multi-billion dollar behemoths that don’t need government subsidies to provide services.

Caren's Opinion
···
12/10/2019
No, because it’s no longer needed. We don’t need or want Democrats controlling every aspect of our lives or making more on us than they already do.
Like (10)
Follow
Share
Doug's Opinion
···
12/10/2019
Private companies should conduct these negotiations between themselves.
Like (7)
Follow
Share
Dennis's Opinion
···
12/10/2019
Another abuse of power by the communistic Democrates
Like (2)
Follow
Share

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Communications and Technology
    IntroducedNovember 12th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 5035?

This bill — the Television Viewer Protection Act of 2019 — would reauthorize the STELAR Act, which is a compulsory satellite license law that allows subscription cable services to import distant network signals into markets that don't have a local versions and requires good faith retransmission consent negotiations between broadcasters and MVPDs (multichannel video program distributors).

The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology made certain amendments to this bill in order to arrive at a bipartisan compromise to secure its subcommittee passage. The compromise amendment: 

  • Gave the House Judiciary Committee the power to extend the distant signal license, which allows satellite TV providers to carry broadcast television content to nearly a million consumers;
  • Made provisions related to good faith in retransmission consent negotiations permanent;
  • Applied consumer rights and transparency requirements to consumers’ cable and satellite bills; and
  • Gave small rural cable providers the ability to negotiate as a group to purchase broadcast programming from the largest broadcast ownership groups, but provided important protections for broadcasters if a buying group doesn’t act in good faith.

Impact

TV consumers; TV service providers; subscription cable services; localities not served by local broadcast television networks; negotiations between small rural cable providers and broadcast ownership groups; and the House Judiciary Committee.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 5035

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) introduced this bill to extend rules on how cable and satellite TV companies can retransmit broadcast television signals to their customers. After the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology arrived at a bipartisan agreement on this bill, Rep. Doyle said

“I’m happy to announce that we have reached a bipartisan deal on this legislation… This is a complex issue that directly affects millions of Americans. I’m very pleased that we were able to negotiate a bipartisan compromise on legislation to permanently authorize the laws governing good faith negotiations between broadcasters and multichannel video programming distributors over the carriage of broadcast television programming. The deal also enables the Judiciary Committee to extend the distant signal license, which allows satellite tv providers to carry broadcast television content to nearly a million consumers. I understand that the House Judiciary Committee is working toward an agreement on this legislation. We were also able to come to agreement on important provisions related to billing transparency and the ability of small cable providers to negotiate together with large broadcast ownership groups. This deal is a big win for consumers. It’s my hope that we can move this important legislation through the committee, the House, and the Senate and get it signed into law before the current authorization expires at the end of the year.”

Public Knowledge supports this bill. Its Senior Policy Council, Jenna Leventoff, says: 

“We are pleased Congressman Doyle has introduced legislation to reauthorize provisions that, when adequately enforced, ensure video providers and broadcasters negotiate in good faith to reduce blackouts and keep prices down for consumers… While we have advocated for a permanent reauthorization of both the distant signal and good-faith retransmission consent provisions, Congressman Doyle’s five-year reauthorization of the good-faith retransmission consent negotiation requirement will protect consumers from being pawns in negotiations between large companies, giving Congress time to consider important changes to the videoplace market rules. Congressman Doyle’s proposal will also increase transparency in advertising and billing for video, internet, and phone service. This provision, also championed in the Senate by Sen. Markey, will ensure that consumers aren’t breaking the bank for vital communications services.”

Consumer Reports expressed support for the compromise agreement in a November 20, 2019 letter: 

“We understand a bipartisan compromise has been agreed to that requires an MVPD (multichannel video program distributor) to disclose the total price, including all itemized charges, fees, and estimated taxes, before a consumer agrees to sign up for a video package, whether offered individually or as part of a bundled service. CR further understands that a consumer will be afforded a 24-hour period to cancel service without penalty after receiving a formal notice of the disclosure given at the point of sale. Finally, language has been added that will prohibit a company from charging consumers for equipment they do not use. Consensus is difficult to achieve on many issues before Congress, and injecting transparency into the billing practices of telecommunications providers is, unfortunately, no different. Nonetheless, consumers will be better off if the agreed upon legislation is enacted into law as part of H.R. 5035. Therefore, Consumer Reports endorses the compromise that was struck, and we applaud the hard work of the Congressional staff who worked long hours to achieve this win for consumers.”

Testifying before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on October 23, 2019, AT&T’s Senior Vice President of Content and Programming, Robert Thun, argued that STELAR must be reauthorized to ensure consumers continue receiving network television programming

“[W]ithout STELAR’s distant-signal-license, 870,000 satellite subscribers, your constituents, would lose access to the network television programming they have relied on for years. In all cases, failure to renew STELAR would remove channels from people who legally receive them today -- many of whom have done so for years -- and who would not understand why those channels were taken away. While the number of customers receiving service through the distant signal license has declined over time, that does not mean that those 870,000 subscribers that continue to receive high-quality satellite network programming because of the license should now be left behind. For the same reasons it has for decades, Congress should continue to protect those subscribers’ access to network programming. These include hundreds of thousands… mainly in rural areas, that cannot obtain a free over-the-air signal from a local network broadcaster. That point bears repeating: we are able to offer distant signals to hundreds of thousands of your constituents because the broadcasters have failed to provide these constituents with their local signal over- the-air. Nothing prevents local broadcasters from investing in their local communities, extending the reach of their signals, and providing these customers free, over-the-air-signals. Indeed, the government provided local broadcasters access to free spectrum with the hope that they would do just that. Instead of doing so, local broadcasters choose to blame Congress, and take the easier (and certainly cheaper) path of opposing renewal of STELAR, thereby putting satellite subscribers at risk. Local broadcasters cannot have it both ways. They cannot, on the one hand, fail to provide consumers access to free, over-the-air local network programming, while at the same time asking Congress to deny these same consumers access to network programming via the distant-signal-license. Congress rightly avoided this consumer ‘double whammy’ when it adopted the satellite and cable distant signal license decades ago and its logic in doing so remains just as sound today.” 

Although his staff worked on the compromise agreement that helped this bill pass through committee, House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) isn’t sure this legislation is necessary. In remarks at this bill’s committee markup, he said, “As most of you know, I haven’t yet been convinced that we need to reauthorize STELAR. However, our staffs have been working diligently on this issue and we remain hopeful we can reach a good outcome.”

The New York State Broadcasters Association (NYSBA) opposes STELAR’s reauthorization, as it believes the law is unnecessary: 

“STELAR was enacted 30 years ago. It gave the nascent satellite industry an exemption from the copyright law and allowed it to import distant network signals to homes that could not receive local affiliates over the air with an antenna… We believe the law should expire. STELAR has become nothing more than a vehicle for adding new regulations on to local television broadcasters.” 

The NYSBA took particular issue with a provision allowing smaller cable companies to join together to collectively negotiate with television stations. It argued that this collective negotiation, which would apply to cable operators with up to a million subscribers nationally, could raise antitrust issues.

Testifying before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on STELAR reauthorization on behalf of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), Graham Media CEO and president Emily Barr argued that STELAR harms local TV viewers and serves only to benefit large telecommunications providers that don’t need its support

“Local broadcasters continue to believe that the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR) should be allowed to expire at the end of 2019 – the date that Congress intentionally chose for this temporary law to sunset. Not only have its provisions become unnecessary and ineffective, but today STELAR affirmatively harms viewers who are being denied access to their local television stations as the result of its continued reauthorization… When enacted 30 years ago, STELAR’s distant signal license allowed nascent satellite television companies to better compete with big cable monopolies when the technology did not otherwise exist for those providers to carry local broadcast stations. On a temporary basis, Congress allowed the satellite companies to serve their subscribers with a broadcast station operating outside of the local community at a discounted rate in order to ensure that those households could receive their favorite network programming. That law was wildly successful, yet the market and media landscape have fundamentally changed over the past three decades. Today, there is no technological impediment to delivering local station signals to all markets, and those satellite companies are now media behemoths who do not need a subsidy: AT&T-DIRECTV is a $280 billion company, and DISH is a $17 billion company. DISH is providing this local service in all 210 local markets today and has been for nearly a decade, yet AT&T- DIRECTV continues to offer only out-of-town signals to viewers in 12 markets simply because it is more profitable for the company… Viewers will benefit from eliminating this outdated law, ensuring they receive the local content most relevant to them. In rare instances where a local broadcast channel is not available, private business arrangements between satellite TV providers and broadcasters can resolve these issues.”

This legislation passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee by voice vote.


Of NoteFederal law sets many rules for television broadcast signals, such as licensing and broadcaster ownership rules. It also sets the rules under which cable and satellite TV companies can retransmit broadcast television signals to their customers. This is an important service for households that don’t receive one or more network-affiliated television signals because of restrictive geography or their remote location. Some of these laws were last reauthorized in 2014 in the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization Act (STELAR Act), which is set to expire on December 31, 2019.

STELAR is the compulsory satellite license law that allows subscription cable services, such as DirecTV and Dish, to import distant network signals into markets that don't have a local version. It also requires good faith retransmission consent negotiations between broadcasters and MVPDs, satellite and cable and telco. It expires at the end of the year unless renewed. 


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / seraficus)

AKA

Television Viewer Protection Act of 2019

Official Title

To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to extend expiring provisions relating to the retransmission of signals of television broadcast stations, and for other purposes.

    Rural communities need access to local news sources and regional concerns that only ‘local’ media can provide. TV broadcast signals which cannot reasonably be counted on to reach them should be allowed to be rebroadcast so they can be just as well as informed in a timely manner as those lucky enough to be in-range of a regional broadcasting TV tower. If we are truly to be a government of the people, then all of the people should have equivalent access to timely information of both regional and national import.
    Like (40)
    Follow
    Share
    No, because it’s no longer needed. We don’t need or want Democrats controlling every aspect of our lives or making more on us than they already do.
    Like (10)
    Follow
    Share
    Why all the concern about TV broadcasting? The same should be done for internet service. Both should be provided to all citizens free. Today even more than TV the internet provides more information than almost any other media but it should be regulated as any other media such as TV. There is too much of the wild west on the internet today. There needs to be regulations established that provide a more responsible platform.
    Like (18)
    Follow
    Share
    Rural populations do need access to network television programming, especially in this time when cable news with a partisan slant is dominating some airwaves. This should be reauthorized so that rural communities can get a variety of sources for their information and news.
    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
    Private companies should conduct these negotiations between themselves.
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    Anyone who claims that there is no impediment to providing full broadcast service to rural areas has never been in a rural area. This is not a subsidy for large satellite companies. It's a specific relaxation of our ridiculous copyright rules to create a loophole that allows people in rural areas to get channels that otherwise would be impossible to provide them. Not technologically impossible, but economically impossible because of the greed of the copyright holders.
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    Rural Americans must have access to broadcast content—especially those who choose—or cannot afford—to subscribe to high-priced cable and satellite TV service packages. Basic cable is a necessary link for many Americans to a free press, even in the 21st century. For this reason and several others...YES.
    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
    It is imperative that rural areas have access to a variety of news sources for information.
    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
    This is no longer necessary.
    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
    Despite progress that has been made there are still areas without consistent access to broadcast video. Access to local information is crucial and renewal of this legislation will continue to ensure that. This is not an issue of politics or bias as some would think, but of access to information, preferably unbiased information.
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    Republicans in Congress are willingly undermining the constitution in order to maintain power, these are the facts: There will be two articles of impeachment, 1 on abuse of power and the other for obstruction of Congress. trumps inspector general report says FBI had authorized purpose to investigate trump campaign Russian ties. Three constitutional scholars have stated trump has committed, what is clearly spelled out in the Constitution of the United States, impeachable offenses. Attorney General Barr’s handpicked prosecutor says there is no evidence that supports Russia investigation was a setup or hoax. Why was bipartisan approved military aid to Lebanon held up for months by White House.(Jared Kushner has a lot of ties to that part of the world) Giuliani in talks to be paid by Ukraine official, while they were working together to attack trumps political opponent. Donald McGhan ordered to comply with subpoena. Bolton’s next:) Devin Nunez met with Ukrainians and directly pushed for Biden investigations. The meetings were set up by Giuliani’s Russian criminal friend Lev Parnas. Sondland was on a “Domestic Political Errand.” Was there a quid pro quo? Sondland, “Yes, Everyone was in the loop”. David Holmes, testified that Ukrainian officials “came to understand what was required” in order to get military assistance and a meeting with trump. U.S. ambassador to Ukraine felt threatened by trumps remarks and was threatened by trump while testifying. Long time friend and confidant of trump Roger Stone, found guilty of lying and witness tampering. trump has asked the Supreme Court to keep his taxes hidden. So, no more separation of powers in the government? trump sought status of Ukraine investigations showing aid was depended on the investigations themselves. trump complains that witnesses all speak from 2nd and 3rd hand knowledge yet ordered Mulvaney not to testify. Laura Cooper testified that the Pentagon sought clarification from the trump administration about the hold up of the Ukraine aide and received none. A second person has said they reported sexual misconduct involving a former doctor who’s been accused of sexually abusing nearly 300 men over a 17-year period to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his staff felt they would not get the millions of dollars in aid money without publicly committing to launch the investigations Trump wanted. Senior trump administration officials considered resigning en masse in a ‘midnight self massacre’. State Department official says Giuliani was engaged in a campaign ‘full of lies and incorrect information’ about former ambassador. trump has issued pardons for two soldiers being tried for war crimes and returned rank to a soldier who took a selfie with a dead body. trump to pay $2 million for charity foundation misuse. trump wanted attorney general Barr to hold a news conference saying the president broke no laws on Ukraine call. White House official who heard trumps call with Ukraine president was told to keep quite. White House lawyer moved transcript of trump call to classified server after Ukraine adviser raised alarms. He has politicized our national security and has chosen Putin and other dictators over our own congress and security agencies. “I stated to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate, that the request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something the NSC was going to get involved in or push,” Vindman adds. Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council is testifying that trump demanded that a foreign government investigate an American citizen in exchange for Congresses approved aide. Just reached a $984 billion deficit while he lines his pockets with our tax dollars and foreign money at his resorts. $400 million in aide money was withheld from Ukraine back in August and Ukrainian leaders were told it was not red tape, that they needed to talk to Chief of Staff Mulvaney to resolve it and make a CNN statement about Biden in order to receive said aide. Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, is running a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine that circumvents U.S. officials and career diplomats in order to personally benefit President trump. Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas. Look them up. North Korea just tested a submarine launched missile. Deserted our Kurdish allies who have been fighting ISIS with us and now are being slaughtered. All because he has a tower in Istanbul. “The Americans betrayed us. We do not trust them anymore,” she added. These used to be our Kurdish allies that stood against ISIS. He is refusing to comply with the law. He is using the power of the presidency to withhold aide to one of the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet in exchange for political favors in order to sway the 20/20 election. He is acting like a criminal and threatening the life of the whistleblower. Mr. America first is sending troops to Saudi Arabia in support of a murdering dictator who spends millions at his hotels and resorts. Corey Lewandowski testified to congress that trump ordered him to obstruct justice. He is blocking information that pertains to the safety of our country from reaching congress. He has been threatening NOAA, a federal agency, with punishment if they do not disavow the truth and side with his lies. He invited the Taliban to Camp David the week of 9/11. He is a #PussyAssBitch He’s doctoring weather maps to try and prove he’s not an idiot. He has stayed at trump properties 293 days in 3 years, that’s our tax dollars going directly into his pocket. He took money from military daycares to pay for a wall that won’t work and no one wants. The Vice President and the Attorney General are both spending tax payer dollars on trump hotels, lining his pockets and currying his favor. He has privately instructed aides to skirt laws and regulations to get the wall built faster — and told them he will pardon them if necessary. He is pressuring a government agency to give a contract for his wall to a company whose chief executive is a donor to one of his top GOP allies in Congress. He took hundreds of millions from 127 different projects (FEMA being one of those) for his wall. He thinks nuking a hurricane is an idea. He is host the next G-7 at one of his own resorts. Again our tax dollars paying him directly. He taunted Iran by tweeting a classified image of an Iranian rocket that had exploded, thereby potentially compromising U.S. intelligence capabilities. His own company would save millions from the low interest rates he is demanding. He was going to give you tax cuts through your paychecks but decided not to. This year the richest of us payed less in taxes than the rest of us. He is destroying the economy with HIS trade war. We will soon average a 1.2 trillion deficit. He is repeating NRA talking points on background checks so expect no action taken regardless of the fact there has been 27 arrested over threats to commit mass attacks since El Paso( NOT TOLEDO). He made fun of republicans being afraid of the NRA and then caved after a 30 minute phone conversation with them. He bragged about indefinite child detention because it brings families together. He is refusing flue shots, that protect us all(google influenza pandemic), to immigrant children. He is attacking fellow congresswomen in really disgusting ways and making anti-Semitic remarks about Jews calling them disloyal. He thinks he’s the chosen one based on a conspiracy theory web sight. He has: Obstructed Justice. Is profiting from the Presidency. Colluded - They had a meeting & lied about it. Advocated political & police violence. Abuse of power. Engaging in reckless behavior. Persecuting political opponents. Attacking the free press. Violating immigrants Right to Due Process. Violating campaign finance laws. Racist: Speaks directly to and often tweeting straight from white supremacists. Calls them very fine people. Told fellow congresswomen to go back where they came from. Called them shit hole countries. Called them murderers and rapists. Calls her Pocahontas. Took out full page adds calling for the death of five innocent black kids in New York, 1989. Literally has said in an interview he has Hitlers speeches, My New Order in his nightstand. Our Money: Spent campaign finance money on hush payments to silence a porn star he had an affair with in order to hide it from the voters. Has spent over $100 million of our tax dollars playing golf at his own golf courses. Has never divested from companies and advertises and profits off the White House. Was going to cut Medicaid and Medicare funding to pay for the tax cuts he gave to the rich. Is actively destroying farmers lives with his trade wars that we all know only hurts our pockets not Chinas. Has made the lives of every truck driver across America as well as our own, more dangerous by removing safety regulations that only benefits the pockets of the CEOs of those companies. Has removed any and all protections we had in place from work safety, environment, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights and gives that power back to the CEOs, oil companies, men and old white men. Saudi funded lobbyist rented 500 rooms at a trump hotel he never divested from right after he became president. Wonder why? Sexual Predator: Accused by more than 20 women of molestation and rape. Bragged about said molestation on tape. Has cheated on all three wives (see above). Has made sexual remarks on camera about his daughter. Belittles and bully’s women. Not even sure he’s aware he has two daughters. Idiot: Has allowed North Korea to grow there nuclear weapons program. Took the side of Putin over America’s own security agencies on the national stage. Lacks the intelligence and facts needed to communicate on a global level much less national one. Makes policy decisions based on FOX media. Lies when speaks. Doesn’t believe in science and quite often displays his ignorance of it. Russia: Lied about meetings with Russians. Lied about a trump tower Moscow. Personal attorney Michael Cohen (same guy who broke campaign finance laws under trumps direction) had contacts with russian officials. National Security aide Flynn resigned over Russian contacts. Jeff Sessions recused himself because of Russian contacts. Manafort resigned because of Russian contacts. Campaign foreign policy adviser Papadopoulos met with Russians then bragged about it to Australians who then turned that info over to our FBI. Sixteen campaign officials had contacts with Russia and at least nine others new about it. Russian mobster lived in trump tower. trump casino was flagged 106 times for lax money laundering standards and same Russian frequently stayed at trump casino. Has been selling real estate to Russians for years. It really is surprising how many connections to Russians this man has. Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, Bill Posey You are my representatives. OLC policy: The indictment or criminal prosecution of a criminal investigation of a sitting President would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions. It’s time to do your job. You swore an oath to this country, it’s people and me to uphold the constitution. The president has never upheld that oath. How do you want to be remembered?
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    One the one hand, I don’t think people living in the rural parts of The US should be deprived of their media services; on the other hand, there should be something riding along with this incentivizing the media companies to roll out upgrades to the media delivery methods & infrastructure to rural areas.
    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
    Another abuse of power by the communistic Democrates
    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
    STELAR only benefits the large multi-billion dollar satellite owners. Technology has progressed.
    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
    This is your attempt to get CNN in rural communities? No thanks, no one needs your fake news. You can keep your news bought by the democratic party in your democratic cities... the ones people are fleeing. Let's make sure everyone has the internet instead so everyone has access to Ben Shapiro and the Daily Wire, to expose what the left is really up to. That'll make America great again.
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    People need to know what's going on, and this would help that.
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    End subsidies for everything
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    Vote NO. The mega broadcasters’ threats to remove TV from the poor rural areas is despicable. The last thing we need is more corporate welfare. I’m thoroughly sick and tired of the Democratic and Republican establishment telling us we cannot have the things all the other countries take for granted, including painfully obvious needs such as health care, sensible environmental protections, and clean water. Spend taxpayer dollars on Americans, not corporations!
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    Not the responsibility of the federal government
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    By living in a community that is at least 50,120, 80 and 110 miles from the nearest Local Stations, when I had Direct TV it was the only reason I could be authorized to get network TV at my house. The old way was you had to write each network and they had to approve the Sat company to let you see that network. I did this and only one answered from 120 miles away and it was disapproved
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    MORE