This week, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahySenate confirms first nominees of Trump era Senate gears up for battle over Trump's CIA pick Overnight Tech: Meet the key players for Trump on tech | Patent chief staying on | Kerry aide goes to Snapchat | Uber's M settlement 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.
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 RockefellerJay RockefellerObama to preserve torture report in presidential papers Lobbying world Overnight Tech: Senators place holds on FCC commissioner 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 ThuneSenate confirms first nominees of Trump era Senate gears up for battle over Trump's CIA pick GOP, Dems hear different things from Trump MORE (R-S.D.) and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications leaders Sens. Mark PryorMark PryorCotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Top Democrats are no advocates for DC statehood MORE (D-Ark.) and Roger WickerRoger WickerSenate confirms first nominees of Trump era Senate gears up for battle over Trump's CIA pick Five takeaways from Chao’s confirmation hearing 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 ReidThe DC bubble is strangling the DNC Dems want Sessions to recuse himself from Trump-Russia probe Ryan says Trump, GOP 'in complete sync' on ObamaCare 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 GrassleyChuck GrassleyGOP senator: Trump budget chief could face confirmation 'problems' Jeff Sessions will protect life Justice, FBI to be investigated over Clinton probes MORE (R-Iowa) as well as the Senate Commerce Committee.