What: All Issues : Justice for All: Civil and Criminal : Punishment Fitting the Crime : H. Res. 95. Procedural Vote to Proceed to Consideration of H.R. 310, a Bill to Increase Penalties for Indecent Behavior on Television or Radio.
 Who: All Members
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H. Res. 95. Procedural Vote to Proceed to Consideration of H.R. 310, a Bill to Increase Penalties for Indecent Behavior on Television or Radio.
house Roll Call 34     Feb 16, 2005
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

In this vote, the House agreed to proceed to consideration of H.R. 310, a bill to increase penalties for indecent behavior on television and radio. The vote was to order the previous question on the rule for H.R. 310, meaning that by approving the resolution, the House agreed to end debate, prevent further amendments and proceed immediately to a vote on the measure preventing the minority-in this case, the Democrats-from offering amendments they believed to be critical. (A rule sets forth what amendments House members may offer, how much time each side will be permitted to speak, how long the debate can last, etc. A vote on the rule usually reflects existing support and opposition for the underlying legislation and/or loyalty to one's party. )Democrats, including Progressives and most of whom supported the underlying legislation, expressed frustration that this rule would permit neither amendments nor debate concerning several broadcast decency-related issues they believed to be important, such as media consolidation, the elimination of the "Fairness Doctrine" that used to require that all coverage of controversial issues by a television or radio station be fair and balanced, and incidents where journalists who appeared objective were in fact paid to espouse a particular point of view. Republicans were content to leave H.R. 310 "clean," meaning that they were not interested in adding additional broadcast issues, because they knew that a narrowly-tailored bill would enjoy bipartisan support. The underlying bill, sponsored by Fred Upton (R-MI), would raise the maximum fines allowable per incident to $500,000 for both broadcasters and performers, a substantial increase. The bill would also impose a "three-strikes" rule, requiring that a broadcaster's license be revoked following three violations. In this vote, the nearly party-line vote of 230 to 198 reflected alliance with party leadership and Democratic frustration with the terms of the debate. The resolution passed and Democrats, including Progressives, were prevented from discussing what they believed to be critical issues of fairness and decency in broadcasting.

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