WASHINGTON The U.S. Senate late Thursday voted to increase fines for broadcast indecency tenfold, to $325,000, ending more than 15 months of congressional inaction on the issue.
The House early last year passed a measure hiking fines to as much as $500,000. The two chambers need to sort out differences between their versions before any fine increase can become law.
The House bill places television and radio licenses in jeopardy after three violations of indecency regulations, and it contemplates fining performers. The Senate bill, proposed by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), is limited to increasing fines without otherwise changing current regulations.
"It's time that broadcast indecency fines represent a real economic penalty and not just a slap on the wrist," Brownback said in a statement welcoming Senate passage of his bill.