By John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable Online, 11-21-19

House Energy & Commerce Communications Subcommittee chairman Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) and ranking member Greg Walden (R-Ore.) reached agreement on a STELAR reauthorization bill that then passed a full-committee markup Nov. 20, but the bill does not reauthorize the compulsory distant signal license, a major piece of the legislation that Doyle says Judiciary will handle.

If it makes it to the President’s desk – and Judiciary does indeed add the license renewal part – the bill, H.R. 5035, the Television Viewer Protection Act, would be a win for cable operators, though short of the retrans reforms – no blackouts, arbitration – that are on their wish list.

STELAR includes the compulsory satellite distant signal license and the mandate that broadcasters and cable operators negotiate retransmission consent in good faith.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) had said the bill (actually HIS bill) would be taken up at 9 a.m. on Nov. 21. But the Judiciary Committee recessed a marathon markup without taking up that version of the STELAR bill.  The Judiciary bill, when finished, will have to be reconciled with the E&C version. The two committees divide up jurisdiction over STELAR.  » Read More