Senate satellite TV bill coming this week

This week, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyCongress should build on the momentum from spending bill Overnight Tech: Zuckerberg grilled by lawmakers over data scandal | What we learned from marathon hearing | Facebook hit with class action lawsuit | Twitter endorses political ad disclosure bill | Uber buys bike share Overnight Cybersecurity: Zuckerberg faces grilling in marathon hearing | What we learned from Facebook chief | Dems press Ryan to help get Russia hacking records | Top Trump security adviser resigning MORE (D-Vt.) will unveil a bill to reauthorize the law governing satellite television, according to a committee aide.

The law — the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA) — expires at the end of this year, and Leahy’s will be the first bill introduced in the upper chamber to reauthorize it.

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In the House, a Republican reauthorization bill has already moved through the Energy and Commerce Committee, where negotiations produced bipartisan support on some of the bill’s more contentious issues.

Among other things, the House STELA reauthorization bill contains a provision that would prohibit broadcasters from negotiating as a group with cable and satellite companies unless the broadcasters are owned by the same company, which broadcasters have protested.

According to people familiar with the discussions, Leahy is planning to introduce a “clean” reauthorization bill that avoids some of the more controversial issues that have bogged down others.

Sen. Jay RockefellerJohn (Jay) Davison RockefellerSenate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Overnight Tech: Trump nominates Dem to FCC | Facebook pulls suspected baseball gunman's pages | Uber board member resigns after sexist comment Trump nominates former FCC Dem for another term MORE (D-W.Va.) — chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, which also has jurisdiction over this issue — has expressed interest in broader reforms to the video marketplace, echoing some Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee who expressed frustration that the House bill was too narrow.

In February, Rockefeller — along with Commerce ranking member John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneHouse, Senate GOP compete for cash Overnight Tech: Alleged robocall kingpin testifies before Congress | What lawmakers learned | Push for new robocall rules | Facebook changes privacy settings ahead of new data law | Time Warner CEO defends AT&T merger at trial Senators grill alleged robocall kingpin MORE (R-S.D.) and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications leaders Sens. Mark PryorMark Lunsford PryorMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm MORE (D-Ark.) and Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerLet's hold Facebook to the same standards as other players in the industry Cindy Hyde-Smith sworn in as Mississippi's latest senator Miss. Dem touts campaign poll saying he leads GOP candidates in Senate race MORE (R-Miss.) — asked companies and public interest groups to weigh in on STELA reauthorization.

“The pending STELA reauthorization offers the Committee a chance to consider whether present law appropriately protects and promotes a video market that is responsive to consumer demands and expectations,” the letter said.

But Leahy is working on a more narrow bill that steers clear of the broader reforms that divide lawmakers and industry players, according to people familiar with discussions.

A less contentious, more narrowly focused bill will make it easier for Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidGOP poised to advance rules change to speed up Trump nominees Dems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination The Memo: Teens rankle the right with gun activism MORE (D-Nev.) to bring it to the floor, according to one person familiar with the discussions.

At a hearing on STELA reauthorization in March, Leahy said the bill “should not be partisan or controversial. It should be a moment for the Senate to come together.”

“That is the spirit in which I will be approaching our work this year,” he said, pledging to work with Senate Judiciary ranking member Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley renews complaints about History Channel Republicans divided over legislation protecting Mueller The Hill's Morning Report: Inside the Comey memos MORE (R-Iowa) as well as the Senate Commerce Committee.