Janet's Stunt Brings Federal Action
The United States House of Representatives on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to dramatically increase fines for broadcast indecency, taking particular aim at the wallets of personalities and companies, reports the Associated Press.
Under the legislation, approved by a whopping 391-22 decision, broadcast companies and entertainers could face fines of up to $500,000 per indecent incident -- a double-digit percentage boost from the current $27,500 for license-holders and $11,000 for personalities.
After Jackson, 37, bared her star-studded breast during the Super Bowl's halftime show, the Federal Communications Commission received more than a half-million complaints, says AP, noting that this was more than twice the number of complaints received during all of 2003.
"That shameless exhibition was disgraceful and had no place on the public airwaves," said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. "By increasing the fines, this legislation hits violators where it hurts the most -- their pockets."
"Parents, families, educators -- and every American who turns on a television or radio -- deserve this bill," said House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo. "It's time to return the public airwaves to the taxpayers who support them."
Those few lawmakers who voted against the bill -- 21 Democrats and Texas Republican Ron Paul -- complained that the legislation impinges on free speech, says AP.
The measure now goes to the Senate, where the Commerce Committee unanimously passed similar legislation earlier in the week. President Bush has vowed to sign it.