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Public Statements

Providing for Consideration of H.R. 3717, Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 3717, BROADCAST DECENCY ENFORCEMENT ACT OF 2004 -- (House of Representatives - March 11, 2004)

Mrs. MYRICK. Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I call up House Resolution 554 and ask for its immediate consideration.

The Clerk read the resolution, as follows:

H. Res. 554

Resolved, That at any time after the adoption of this resolution the Speaker may, pursuant to clause 2(b) of rule XVIII, declare the House resolved into the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union for consideration of the bill (H.R. 3717) to increase the penalties for violations by television and radio broadcasters of the prohibitions against transmission of obscene, indecent, and profane language. The first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. All points of order against consideration of the bill are waived. General debate shall be confined to the bill and shall not exceed ninety minutes equally divided and controlled by the chairman and ranking minority member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. After general debate the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. It shall be in order to consider as an original bill for the purpose of amendment under the five-minute rule the amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the Committee on Energy and Commerce now printed in the bill. The committee amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be considered as read. All points of order against the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute are waived. No amendment to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be in order except those printed in the report of the Committee on Rules accompanying this resolution. Each such amendment may be offered only in the order printed in the report, may be offered only by a Member designated in the report, shall be considered as read, shall be debatable for the time specified in the report equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to amendment, and shall not be subject to a demand for division of the question in the House or in the Committee of the Whole. All points of order against such amendments are waived. At the conclusion of consideration of the bill for amendment the Committee shall rise and report the bill to the House with such amendments as may have been adopted. Any Member may demand a separate vote in the House on any amendment adopted in the Committee of the Whole to the bill or to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening motion except one motion to recommit with or without instructions.

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Mr. BACA. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of H.R. 3717, a bill that would increase the fines the Federal Communications Commission can impose for the broadcast of obscene, indecent, or profane material.

The level of violent and sexual content in all of forms of media has reached a point where Congress has no choice but to act.

Many people first became aware of this problem while they were watching the Super Bowl, but this is not a new problem.

Whether it is television, movies, video games, or the Internet, you cannot get away from it, and it is getting worse.

As Democrats and Republicans we must continue to work together to address these issues. That is the only way we will be able prevent our children from being needlessly exposed to violent and sexual content in the media.

A growing body of evidence suggests that these messages can be harmful to children's development.

That is why I submitted an amendment that would call on the Surgeon General to produce an annual report assessing the impact of violent media content on children.

Although my amendment was not accepted I hope the Surgeon General will hear us today and understand that Congress takes these issues very seriously and that we demand to know more.

That is also why I created the bipartisan Congressional Sex and Violence in the Media Caucus last October with my friend and colleague, Congressman TOM OSBORNE.

We will be a strong voice within Congress to reduce violent and sexual content in the media.

We will identify ways to work effectively in Congress and in our districts to prevent violence by and against children through legislation, education, outreach, and advocacy.

Just this Tuesday, we introduced H.R. 3914, the Children's Protection from Violent Programming Act, along with Congressman DAVID PRICE.

Our bill would require the FCC to assess the effectiveness of the V-chip to determine if it effectively protects children from television violence.

If the study shows that the V-chip is not effective, then it requires the FCC to create a "safe harbor" so that violent programming is not televised when children are likely to be watching.

I am proud to have received the endorsement of the Parents Television Council and the Consumers Union.

Last year I re-introduced the Protect Children from Video Game Sex and Violence Act, H.R. 669, which would impose penalties on those who rent or sell video games with violent or sexual content to minors.

It is wrong that our children are being exposed to this kind of violence at an age when their minds and values are still being formed. They play these games when many of them cannot distinguish fantasy from reality. Yet today's most popular games are full of senseless acts of sex and violence that brainwash our kids.

These games show people having sex with prostitutes, car-jacking soccer moms, using illegal drugs, decapitating police officers, and killing innocent people as they beg for mercy. If that isn't enough, games like BMX Triple X even show live video footage of naked strippers. Is that what we really want our kids to be watching?

Let me be clear. It is the responsibility of parents to raise their children and determine what they watch on television or what kinds of games they buy. But when children see these things when they are watching the Super Bowl or when they can walk into their neighborhood store and buy video games with mature content, a parent is cut out of the process.

Some will tell you that early exposure to violence has no harmful effects, but a growing body of academic research tells a different story.

Several of the Nation's most respected public health groups have found that viewing entertainment violence can lead to increases in aggressive attitudes, values, and behaviors, particularly in children.

But we have to go beyond facts and figures. What does this mean for our kids?

We are at the beginning of a long and difficult battle for the hearts, the minds, and the souls of our children.

I hope that other Members of Congress and the public will continue to work to protect our children from these harmful materials.

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