US House Bills on FCC ReformThe House Communications and Technology subcommittee will meet on July 24, 2013, and July 25, 2013, to mark up two bills aimed at reforming the FCC’s processes: the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act; and the Federal Communications Commission Consolidated Reporting Act.  

Among other things, the Process Reform Act would require the FCC to:
  • Survey the marketplace before initiating a rulemaking, with some exceptions.
  • Ensure that Notices of Proposed Rulemaking: (1) follow within three years of Notices of Inquiry; (2) include the specific text of proposed rules; and (3) provide at least 30 days each for comments and replies.  Adopted rules would have to follow within three years. 
  • Publish the status of open rulemakings as well as list the draft items the commissioners are currently considering.
  • Establish “shot clocks” for action in each type of proceeding it oversees and report every six months regarding its progress in meeting its shot clocks.
  • Establish a schedule for the release of its required reports, release all orders within 30 days of adoption, and report to Congress whenever it misses its own deadlines.
  • Publish the documents specified in the Federal Register no later than 45 days after release of the document.
  • Put consumer complaint information in a publicly available, searchable database on its website.

The law would also reform the “Sunshine Act” to allow three or more commissioners to gather on a bipartisan basis subject to certain disclosures.

The Consolidated Reporting Act would require the FCC to: 
  • Publish and submit to Congress a communications marketplace report synched to the two-year Congressional cycle.  
  • Assess: (1) the state of competition in the communications marketplace, (2) the state of deployment including the deployment of advanced telecommunications capability, and (3) regulatory barriers to market entry and competitive expansion; identify the issues it plans to address over the next two years as a result of this assessment; and report on its progress.
  • Consider intermodal, facilities-based, and Internet-based competition and compile a list of geographic areas that are not served by any provider of advanced telecommunications capability. 

The bill would also eliminate outdated studies and consolidate the ones that remain into a biennial release.

Versions of both bills passed the House of Representatives in May of 2012.

We will be monitoring developments closely to keep you informed.

Click here for more information regarding House Bills.




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