After the Election: What Changes are Ahead for Indiana Broadcasters

An Update from IBA Executive Director Dave Arland

Our primary role as the Indiana Broadcasters Association is to advocate for the business of Hoosier radio and TV broadcasting.  So, the recent elections do have an impact on our advocacy agenda in Congress and at the Indiana Statehouse.

Your Board of Directors works diligently to educate members of Congress and their staff on key issues that impact our industry.  Our efforts have been rewarded recently by Congress allocating an additional billion dollars for the Spectrum Repack, the signing of the Music Modernization Act, and an aggressive and successful lobbying to prevent an Advertising Tax.

These wins are the result of consistent communication with our Members of Congress we are committed to developing new relationships with new members and maintaining steady contact with those who represent Indiana’s nine Congressional districts.

Last week, three new Hoosiers were elected to serve in Washington D.C. and the IBA will work with them to make certain that the business of broadcasting is protected in Indiana and across the country.  Soon, we’ll be sitting down with:

  • Senator-elect Mike Braun (R)
  • Representative-elect Jim Baird (R-IN4)
  • Representative-elect Greg Pence (R-IN6)

We work hand-in-hand with the National Association of Broadcasters and NAB’s Executive VP for Government Relations, Curtis LeGeyt, has some key insights on the recent election:

In the U.S. Senate:

  • Roger Wicker (R-MS) is the likely chair of the Senate Commerce Committee.  Sen. Wicker has a strong relationship with his local broadcasters, which we can build upon in this new role. Wicker has signaled his intention to prioritize privacy legislation should he ascend to the chairmanship, but he remains largely non-committal on some issues like the upcoming expiration of satellite TV carriage (a recurring issue that comes up every few years.)
  • Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is the likely chair of the Senate Finance Committee.  Sen. Grassley has used his tenure as Judiciary chairman to help broadcasters on issues within that committee’s jurisdiction, but he was also a strong ally in the fight against the advertising tax this Congress. We believe that he will continue to be a good friend in his new role.  One potential area of concern is his bipartisan work to limit pharmaceutical advertising, something he could reach across the aisle to implement from this spot.

In the U.S. House: 

  • Frank Pallone (D-NJ) is the likely Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.  Rep. Pallone has been a key broadcast champion over his time in Congress, and he has led House efforts on the repack funding issues this Congress. However, Rep. Pallone strongly opposes much of the deregulatory work the FCC has done in the telecom space over the last two years and he has made clear that pushing back on those FCC efforts will be at the top of his committee’s agenda next year.
  • Jerry Nadler (D-NY) is the likely Chairman of the Judiciary Committee with Doug Collins (R-GA) as the Ranking Member.  NAB has deep relationships with both Reps. Nadler and Collins, having worked closely with both this Congress on passage of the Music Modernization Act.

Sports Gambling on Agenda at Indiana Statehouse

Changes are also coming at the Indiana General Assembly, and the IBA is well represented in Indianapolis by Rick Cockrum and his team at Capitol Assets.
With several resignations and a few incumbents being defeated, we will see a fresh set of faces when the legislature convenes in January.  There will be 15 new House members and four in the Senate.  In addition, there will be changes in leadership in two of the caucuses.  Democrats picked up two seats in the House and one in the Senate, but Republicans still control both chambers with a super majority.

Last session, Senate Republican Leader David Long announced he was stepping down.  He is being replaced by Senator Rod Bray and the House Democrats have elected Rep. Phil Giaquinta as their leader (replacing Rep. Terry Goodin.)  Senator Tim Lanane will stay on as Senate Democrat leader and Rep. Brian Bosma continues to lead the House Republicans.

The General Assembly meets for organizational day next Tuesday, when these positions will be formalized and committee assignments will be given.  Bill drafting and filing will commence immediately thereafter.

Rick Cockrum says that “much time and energy will be consumed working on the biennial budget for the following two fiscal years.  While the state has strong surplus, there will be added demands for child welfare services, mental health services and opioid addiction interventions.

“One of the major items to be considered is sports gambling which has the tepid support of an interim study committee.  Yet to be determined is who, where and how this new gaming avenue is implemented.  There will likely be several thousand bills filed before the deadline in mid-January.”

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