House Subcommittee Sends Reauthorization of Satellite Bill to Full Committee

GOP and Dems worked out differences except on joint sales agreements

With a few tweaks, the House communications and technology subcommittee advanced a bill that reauthorizes the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act for five years. The bill now goes to the full House commerce committee.

Reauthorization of the bill is vitally important to DirecTV, which still relies on the law to be able to deliver out of market network affiliated TV stations to 1.5 million of its subscribers.

In addition, the bill has a few other goodies that both sides of the aisle have hammered out in two weeks since chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) introduced his draft and held a hearing on it

Only one major sticking point remains between GOP and Democrats: what to do about the provision in the bill that would stop the Federal Communications Commission from going ahead with its controversial proposal to limit how TV joint sales agreements are counted towards ownership until the FCC conducts its review of all media ownership rules.

Unable to strike a compromise, that provision was "bracketed," a kind of legislative "on hold" that essentially kicks it up the ladder to the full committee to resolve.

Stela is one of the few things Congress must attend to before the end of the year when the act expires. The Senate Judiciary will hold its first Stela reauthorization hearing tomorrow where Dish's evp and general counsel Stanton Dodge and Schurz Communications' broadcasting svp Marci Burdick are among the scheduled witnesses. The Senate commerce is reportedly looking to hold its hearing next week.