Category Archives: Legislative Update

DHS to Compile Database of Journalists

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wants to track journalists, bloggers and other “media influencers” through a database. The DHS’s “Media Monitoring” plan would give the contracting company “24/7 access to a password protected, media influencer database, including journalists, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers etc.” in order to identify any and all media coverage related to the Department of Homeland Security or a particular event.

The database would be designed to monitor the public activities of media members and influencers by “location, beat and influencers,” the document says.

FCC Opens Settlement Window for Mutually Exclusive Applicants in Second Translator Window for AMs Seeking FM Translators

According to David Oxenford’s Broadcast Law Blog, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing a window for mutually exclusive applicants filed in the second translator window to attempt to resolve the interference conflicts that the FCC found to exist between certain applications. The conflicting applications are listed on the Excel spreadsheet found here. These are translator applications filed in the second translator window in late 2017 which was opened primarily so that Class A and B AM stations could seek authority to rebroadcast their signals on new FM translators that would be tied to those AM stations.

While mutually exclusive parties can start discussions now about resolving the conflicts between their applications, engineering amendments resolving the problems or other settlement agreements can only be filed in a window open between May 24 and June 14.

Part-Time Legislature Effort Falls Short

Supporters of the proposal to move Michigan to a part-time legislature stated that the petition fell about 20,000 signatures short of the required minimum. The group collected 290,000 signatures on the final petition form, which falls short of the 315,654 valid signatures required of a constitutional amendment.

The group collecting the signatures will be mailing new petitions to begin the process again in 2019.

Snyder Signs Record Management Legislation

Gov. Rick Snyder

Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation into law that amends the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to clarify that The State Police would not have to produce reports from its Statewide Records Management System unless it created those reports.

Senate Bill 712 (PA 105) requires those seeking police records under the Freedom of Information Act go through the agency that created them and not an agency that might be maintaining them in a central system.

Whitmer Names Committee to Find Running Mate

Gretchen Whitmer

Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer announced the creation of a committee to help select a likely running mate.

Committee members, who will conduct a statewide process of recruiting and interviewing possible candidates for lieutenant governor, include former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, University of Michigan regent Mark Bernstein, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans and former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara McQuade.

The actual candidate for lieutenant governor will be picked by the party’s formal nominating convention held after the August 7 primary.

Court Upholds Snyder’s Schedule for Special Election to Replace Conyers

Gov. Snyder

Gov. Rick Snyder’s special election schedule to replace former U. S. Rep. John Conyers Jr. was upheld by a U.S. District Court judge.

The judge denied the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction ordering Snyder to call an earlier election than the August 7 primary and November 6 general election to fill the remainder of Rep. Conyers’ term. The court ruled that Michigan law gives ‘broad discretion to the governor’ in scheduling special elections.

DOJ to Review ASCAP, BMI Consent Decrees

According to the report in Inside Radio, the Justice Department has announced that it will review the consent decrees with ASCAP and BMI to determine if they are still relevant in today’s media marketplace. DOJ is reviewing all 1,300 consent decrees for relevance.

“If they have solved the competitive problem, they could become anti-competitive tools over time if they still exist,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Makan Delrahim, who oversees the DOJ’s Antitrust Division. “We will begin sun-setting some of them that don’t make a lot of sense.”

FCC: March 23 was Effective Date for Public File Access to TV Shared Services Agreement

According to a Broadcast Law Blog entry, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing that the rules requiring the inclusion in the online public file of TV station “shared services agreements” became effective on March 23 after it’s been approved by the Office of Management and Budget pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act. Agreements existing before the March 23 effective date need to be added to the file within 180 days.

The obligation for TV stations to put in their public file agreements between independently owned TV stations for shared broadcast services, including shared news operations, accounting staffs and other operational matters.

NAB: Available Spectrum Should Go to Broadcasters

NABAccording to a report in Broadcasting & Cable, the National Association of Broadcasters filed comments with the FCC emphasizing the importance of allowing broadcasters to use available spectrum instead of turning it over for broadband use. Using “white spaces” for broadcast could help eliminate consumer disruption and expedite the transition to Next Gen TV, the NAB argued in the comments. “Encouraging stations to use vacant in-band channels, where available, is one of the most productive steps the Commission and broadcasters can take to minimize the potential for consumer disruption and help speed the transition,” NAB told the agency.