Congress Tries Again To Amend FCC Meeting Rules
Nearly a year after its original introduction, the Federal Communications Commission Collaboration Act has resurfaced, with 2013 bipartisan House and Senate support. The bill calls for an amendment to the Communications Act of 1934 that would authorize three or more FCC commissioners to hold “nonpublic, collaborative discussions,” a practice prohibited today. Commented Commissioner Ajit Pai, “We could respond better and more quickly to everyone with business before the FCC…The act also would help us meet deadlines set by Congress and the shot clocks we set for ourselves.” In a joint statement, President Philip Jones and Committee on Telecommunications Chair John Burke, representing the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, noted, "The bill allows more than two FCC commissioners to meet outside of an open meeting and covers deliberations of the federal-state joint boards and conferences, which serve as an important conduit for the agency to gather state input…The FCC’s existing sunshine rules, while well-intended, make it difficult for FCC commissioners to deliberate on the complex issues before it.” If passed, commissioners could meet informally to speed the vetting of industry mergers along with any equipment waivers/special licensing.

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