By Kim Hart - 12/03/09 01:30 PM EST
In an agency where communicating is supposed to be the top priority, commissioners don't actually get to have many conversations.
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) wants to change that. He introduced a bill this week that would allow three or more FCC commissioners to meet together at the same time.
Under the 1934 Communications Act, only two commissioners can have a private discussion at once. The law was designed to ensure any meetings between three or more of the five-member panel would be open to the public.
But some commissioners have been protesting that rule, saying it prevents them from hammering out agreements quickly or discussing the details of an order in a round-table-like manner. Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps, the senior member of the panel, has complained to Congress about the inefficiencies the rule causes.
One of the newest members, Republican Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker, agreed during an interview with Hillicon Valley on C-Span last week.
“I think it would be nice if, instead of empowering our staff to go have meetings together, we could actually do it ourselves,” she said.
Stupak's bill would let three, four or all five commissioners "hold nonpublic collaborative discussions."