As a member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, I just received
this email from the President of that organization. Lack of
technical expertise at the policy making level (that is, the
offices of the FCC Commissioners), has been a major cause of many
bad policy decisions by the FCC. That this bill was introduced at
all is very good news; that it is jointly sponsored by Senators on
opposite sides of the aisle is even better. If these technical
staff had been on board when BPL was introduced, it's quite
unlikely that it would have ever happened.
I strongly urge ALL hams and others with interest in FCC matters to
write your Senators and ask them to support this bill.
This is, however, off topic of this reflector, so please do not
start a thread on it.
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Senate Bill Proposes Engineering Help for FCC Commissioners
Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Mark Warner (D-Virginia),
introduced S. 2881, a bill that would authorize each FCC
Commissioner to add one staff assistant position to the three that
are currently authorized. The new position of "staff engineer"
would require that the holder either be an electrical engineer or a
computer scientist. If enacted, the new authorization would
affectively undo a loosening of requirements for technical staff at
the highest level of the FCC that began more than 25 years ago.
SBE President, Vinny Lopez, CEV, CBNT, remarked, "Ensuring the
technical integrity of the FCC decision-making is perhaps our most
important legislative goal. This legislation will go a long way
toward returning technical expertise to the FCC Commissioner's
offices." Lopez added, "We encourage other members of the Senate to
support this well-crafted legislation. SBE will seek the
introduction of a companion bill in the House and we will urge
rapid passage of both Bills in the House and the Senate."
The proposed legislation, which would amend Section 4(f)(2) of the
Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 154(f)(2)), explains that the
G??staff engineerG?? would provide each commissioner with technical
consultation when appropriate and interface with the Office of
Engineering and Technology, Commission Bureaus and other technical
staff of the Commission for additional technical input and
resources. The staff engineer would need to hold an undergraduate
or graduate degree from an institution of higher education in their
respective field of expertise.
The Senate bill would not seek to replace any of the existing staff
assistants in each Commissioner's office but rather authorize each
Commissioner to add one assistant.
SBE has already begun contacting members of the House of
Representatives to seek sponsors for a House version of the Bill.
SBE members are asked to contact their senators and urge them to
support S.2881, the "FCC Commissioners' Technical Resource
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