June 22, 2006 | By Danny O'Brien

Telecom Log Jam - Broadcast Flag Decision Postponed

As if it wasn't convoluted enough, the 159-page Stevens telecoms reform bill -- which now includes broadcast and audio flag provisions -- got buried under an avalanche of 200 proposed amendments today. At the markup committee meeting, senators became quickly mired in discussions over a tiny fraction of these proposals. The remainder of the amendments -- including Senator Sununu's proposal to throw out the flags wholesale -- were postponed until next Tuesday.

It's certainly getting messy in there. With Senator McCain proposing that the broadcast flag be tied to broadcaster support for a la carte cable channels, and heavyweights like Intel balking at the current language, even the flag's proponents may be having second thoughts about entering this cauldron of competing special interests.

If you have a senator on the Commerce committee, keep calling or writing to tell them to do the sensible thing, and snip out the extraneous flags from an already overcomplex bill.


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