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Lawmakers seek to boost indecency fines

Republican’s plan would raise maximum fine tenfold

Legislation aimed at raising fines tenfold for indecent acts on broadcast television and radio is due to be unveiled Wednesday by Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, his spokesman Aaron Groote said Tuesday.

Brownback’s legislation would raise the maximum possible fine to $325,000 per violation with a maximum of $3 million per continuing violation, according to a draft of the measure obtained by Reuters Tuesday. The maximum now is $32,500 per violation.

Lawmakers and Federal Communications Commission officials have been seeking significantly higher fines as a way to deter broadcasters after a rash of incidents, including nudity and profanity on television.

Congress adjourned last year without acting on legislation that could have raised fines to as much as $500,000 per violation and a maximum of $3 million per continuing violation.

So far, five senators have agreed to cosponsor Brownback’s bill; Democrat Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, George Allen of Virginia, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, and Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Groote said.

A spokesman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee had no immediate comment on plans in the House for legislation to increase indecency fines...

Reuters, MSNBC, Jan. 25, 2005

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