The Regulatory Mix, TMI’s daily blog of regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of a TMI Regulatory Bulletin.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee released three draft bills aimed at increasing transparency at the FCC. The bills will be the focus of a hearing on Thursday April 30, 2015, entitled “FCC Reauthorization: Improving Commission Transparency.” Both FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioner Mike O’Rielly are expected to testify.
The first bill , offered by Rep. Latta (R-OH) would require the FCC to publish a list of items that are published at the bureau level on delegated authority rather than being decided by the full commission. The items would have to be disclosed within 48 hours. The second bill, offered by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) would require the FCC to publish the draft of a rulemaking, order, report or any other action no later than 24 hours after it is circulated to the commissioners for a vote or no later than 21 days before the date on which the vote is to occur. The bill does not prevent the FCC from making changes to the item after it has been circulated, but it allows the public to see what the chairman is proposing to the rest of the commission. The third bill, offered by Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) would require the FCC to publish the text of any new rules on the same day that they are adopted.
Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) called the bills a “trifecta for transparency” and said they were “excellent next steps for our #CommActUpdate as we continue work to reform the FCC.”
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai issued a statement welcoming the these efforts. He commended the subcommittee for its continued work “to ensure good process and bring greater transparency” to the FCC. He added: “The American people are too often left in the dark when it comes to agency decision-making. In the meantime, favored special interests are able to gain access to “non-public” information. This is wrong. The American people have a right to know what their government is doing, and I look forward to working with Congress and my colleagues to make sure that happens.”
The Missouri PSC opened a proceeding to rescind and consolidate many of its rules relating to telecommunications. The PSC found that this is necessary to bring the existing rules into compliance with state and federal statutory changes. The PSC proposes revisions that will rescind existing rules found in Title 4, Division 240, PSC Chapters 2, 3, 30, 32, and 33. Many of those rules will be eliminated entirely; those that remain will be incorporated into a new Chapter 28. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers see Bulletin dated 4/20/15.