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Tonko Broadband & Telecom Bills Pass House

Capital Region Congressman adds House passage of two more bills to growing list of recent bipartisan achievements

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Washington, July 23, 2018 | comments

WASHINGTON – Tonight Congressman Paul D. Tonko capped his string of recent legislative victories as the U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously to adopt his bipartisan broadband reform bill, the ACCESS BROADBAND Act, a bill that improves coordination and community access to federal broadband resources. Tonight’s vote follows a string of signature bipartisan wins by Congressman Tonko over the past two months.

“In these divided times, I am humbled to sponsor common-sense legislation that earned overwhelming support from this Republican-led House,” said Tonko. “Whether expanding access to treatment for opioid addiction or improving our nation’s access to the Internet, it is heartening to see sensible public servants from both parties find common ground on issues that affect so many American families.”

H.R. 3994, the ACCESS BROADBAND Act establishes a single point of contact office to streamline management of federal broadband resources across multiple agencies and create a simpler process for small businesses and local economic developers to access them including informational workshops for local businesses and economic developers.

“Broadband Internet access is quickly becoming the heartbeat of opportunity for our local and national economies, helping students learn and grow, job candidates train and pursue new careers, doctors read medical scans and entrepreneurs start and grow small businesses,” Tonko offered. “If enacted, this bill takes important steps forward to improve the efficiency, access and transparency of public investments in high-speed Internet connectivity. I am grateful to my colleagues in the House for advancing this commonsense legislation and urge the Senate to take up this common-sense pro-growth measure immediately.”

ACCESS BROADBAND stands for Advancing Critical Connectivity Expands Service, Small Businesses Resources, Opportunities, Access, and Data Based on Assessed Need and Demand. The bill also sponsored by Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and cosponsored by 17 members including 7 Republicans.

A second bipartisan bill sponsored by Rep. Tonko was also adopted by the House. H.R. 5709, Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement (PIRATE) Act increases consequences and restrictions on unlawful broadcasting, sometimes called ‘pirate radio.’ Pirate signals can pose a significant threat to public safety – oftentimes disrupting Federal Aviation Administration operations, the Emergency Alert System and other tools relied upon by first responders.

“Our airwaves are public and our government is responsible for keeping them safe for first responders and families alike,” explained Tonko. “Whether a frequency is being used in emergencies to coordinate community response and save lives or by parents who just want to tune their car radios with their kids in the car without risking gross obscenity and bigotry, our communities are better served when broadcasting is governed by the rule of law. I am grateful to my House colleagues for their unanimous support of the PIRATE Act and urge the Senate to take up this practical measure without delay.”

The PIRATE Act is short for Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement (PIRATE) Act and is cosponsored by Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ). It has been endorsed by the National Association for Broadcasters, New York State Broadcasters Association and the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, Inc.

 

Tonko legislative achievements in June & July include:

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