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Patricia O'Connell
Senior Communications Manager

Gregg Elias, Scott Weaver Discuss Telecom Legislation and Regulation to Watch

June 10, 2015

Wiley Rein’s Gregg L. Elias and Scott Weaver were quoted yesterday in a Law360 article about the top legislative and regulatory issues for the communications sector in the second half of 2015.

Mr. Weaver, co-chair of the firm’s Public Policy Practice, weighed in on legislation to reform the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rulemaking process. Several bills in Congress seek to streamline the process and make the FCC more transparent, according to the article.

“The bills are interested in making changes to how the FCC does its business,” Mr. Weaver said. “Some of the bills would seek to require the FCC to publish information about how quickly it issues decisions, make public certain internal procedures, and publish the final text of a decision within 24 hours of a vote.”

Mr. Elias, a partner in the Telecom, Media & Technology and Public Policy practices, discussed a bipartisan Senate bill to exempt local television stations’ existing joint sales agreements (JSAs) from a 2014 FCC rule that made certain JSAs attributable under the agency’s media ownership rules. The legislation’s co-sponsors include Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Charles Schumer (D-NY).

“The bill is trying to grandfather about 50 of these arrangements adopted under the old rules,” Mr. Elias said. “It’s the first really high-profile significant bipartisan proposal of the session that seeks to overturn something [Chairman] Wheeler did at the FCC.”

“We haven’t seen Democratic legislators stand up to the Democratic FCC under the Wheeler administration in this fashion,” he added. “The legislators argue that the JSAs provide a good public service that will be harmed, and they want to protect their constituents.”

The Law360 article can be found here (subscription required).