A Look at Some of the Key Media Bills Being Introduced

Testing the waters for support in an upcoming election year

Congress is winding down for the year, making it highly unlikely that any new laws will get passed; even nominations are having a tough time. There is still a question of whether the Senate, out the first week in December, will be able to vote on the nomination of Terrell McSweeny for an open slot on the Federal Trade Commission. But that doesn’t mean pols will sit on their hands. There’s an election in 2014, and lawmakers, particularly those in tough races, need to show they are pursuing legislation on myriad topics, some of which could impact media and marketing. As the session comes to a close, several lawmakers have introduced bills on perennial issues, testing the waters for support and laying down markers for what could move next year. 

Full Alert: Ad Tax Deduction

House Ways and Means chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) was pushed by House leadership to delay getting tax reform through committee this year until early next year. That buys the ad community a little extra time to lobby lawmakers to excise provisions that limit or remove the advertising tax deduction.

Best Opportunity: Patent Trolls Abuses

With strong bipartisan and bicameral support, a new law to curb patent troll abuses is definitely on the fast track. Just last week, a bill introduced by House judiciary chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) went through committee, and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced a companion bill. But even with all the momentum, with only 10 legislative days left to this year’s session, early next year is a better bet.  

Pressure Building: Marketing to Kids

For the third time, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) reintroduced the Do Not Track Kids Act, which extends online privacy protections to 13-15-year-olds. Passing the bill may be a long shot, but it’s a sure bet Markey and other lawmakers will continue to put pressure on companies marketing e-cigarettes and energy drinks to kids and teens.

Holding Pattern: Security, Data Collection

Except for Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s (D-W.Va.) Do Not Track Act and Markey and Barton’s Do Not Track Kids Act, the focus is on data collection and privacy. Originally anticipated for the end of the year, the Federal Trade Commission’s report is delayed until early next year.

Still Talking: Communication Laws 

A narrow satellite communications law due to expire next year is being used as a Trojan horse to open up a discussion about revamping other communications laws. Bills to curb sports blackout rules, reform retransmission consent and level the playing field between online video services and cable will more likely stimulate debate than actually be passed next year.

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