Sunday, May 9, 2010

Better Chance in the Senate? We Think So!

Although there are some concerns about some of the language in S. 3304 (the Equal Access to 21st Century Communications Act) as seen in the COAT press release, Caption Action 2 believes we have a better chance in the Senate with S. 3304! Here is why:

A More Supportive Chairman

S. 3304 is in the Senate's Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation's Subcommitee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet. (Remember that HR 3101 is in the House's Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet.) S.3304's sponsor Senator Mark Pryor is on the Subcommittee, just like HR 3101's sponsor Rep. Ed Markey is on the Subcommittee. That's the similarity. The reason we think we have a better chance with S. 3304 is that with S. 3304, the chairman of the subcommittee, Senator John Kerry, is a cosponsor. In contrast, with HR 3101, chairman Rick Boucher is not a cosponsor. The icing on the cake is that there is already another cosponsor on the subcommittee, Senator Byron Dorgan.

Need More Cosponsors

What this means is that if chair Sen. Kerry wanted to move S. 3304 to the floor for a vote in the Subcommittee, he could. However, S. 3304 needs more cosponsor support before Kerry can move the bill. This was confirmed by Sarah Holland in Senator Pryor's office, who wrote to Caption Action 2: "The best chance we have of seeing this legislation pass the Senate and become law is to have more cosponsors."

So let's get started! As with HR 3101, the key is cosponsors on the subcommittee, though we also need more cosponsors outside the subcommittee. At this time, the only Senator outside of the Subcommittee who cosponsors S. 3304 is Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND). If your Senator is on the list of Subcommittee members below, please make sure to take a few minutes this week and call or write your Senator to ask him or her to cosponsor S. 3304! (Also help spread the word on S. 3304!)

Senators on the Subcommittee
(Links are to email pages)

Alaska - Senator Mark Begich, (202) 224-3004
Florida - Senator George LeMieux, (202) 224-3041, @george_lemieux; Senator Bill Nelson, (202) 224-5274, @senbillnelson
Georgia - Senator Johnny Isakson, (202) 224-3643
Hawaii - Senator Daniel Inouye, (202) 224-3934, @Daniel_Inouye
Kansas - Senator Sam Brownback, (202) 224-6521, @sensambrownback
Louisiana - Senator David Vitter, (202) 224-4623
Maine - Senator Olympia Snowe, (202) 224-5344
Minnesota - Senator Amy Klobuchar, (202) 224-3244
Mississippi - Senator Roger Wicker, (202) 224-6253
Missouri - Senator Claire McCaskill, (202) 224-6154, @clairecmc
Nebraska - Senator Mike Johanns, (202) 224-4224
Nevada - Senator John Ensign, (202) 224-6244, @SenEnsign
New Jersey - Senator Frank Lautenberg, (202) 224-3224, @franklautenberg
New Mexico - Senator Tom Udall, (202) 224-6621, @SenatorTomUdall
South Carolina - Senator Jim DeMint, (202) 224-6121
South Dakota - Senator John Thune, (202) 224-2321
Virginia - Senator Mark Warner, (202) 224-2023 [Warner is our own Senator!]
Washington - Senator Maria Cantwell, (202) 224-3441

Here is the language in S. 3304 that refers to captioning on the Internet:


`(A) Within 18 months after the submission of the report to Congress required by section 201(b) of the Equal Access to 21st Century Communications Act, the Commission shall prescribe regulations that include an appropriate schedule of deadlines for the provision of closed captioning of video programming distributed to the public over the Internet.

`(B) Consistent with the regulations promulgated under subsection (b), the regulations prescribed under this paragraph shall ensure the accessibility of video programming, except for consumer generated media (as such term is to be defined by the Commission), through the provision of captions on--

`(i) preproduced video programming that was previously captioned for television viewing;

`(ii) live video programming; and

`(iii) video programming first published or exhibited after the effective date of such regulations provided by or generally considered to be comparable to programming provided by multichannel programming distributors.'.

Join Caption Action 2!

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