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riers and undoubtedly would be continued in future reports from those carriers.
On the other hand, such complete information ordinarily is not necessary in reports from smaller specialized carriers and furnishing it imposes a substantial unnecessary burden on them.
Our proposed amendment would make clear that the Commission has authority to tailor the annual reports required from particular types of carriers to the peculiar needs of the Commission with respect to each service and type of carrier. This would give the Commission just as much authority as it now has and at the same time would provide for the necessary flexibility in reporting requirements.
It is now provided in section 221 (a) of the act that the Commission must hold public hearings upon all applications for authority to consolidate telephone properties or for authority for one telephone company to acquire the property of another or the control of another.
Our proposal is that this mandatory hearing requirement be eased, since many of the applications are of such minor significance that hearings are not justified. This is particularly true since, in most of these cases, all conceivable parties in interest are actively supporting the transaction.
A provision similar to the one we are proposing was placed in the Interstate Commerce Act in 1949 and has been successful in saving the time of both that Commission and its regulated carriers.
The amendment to section 221 (a) as it now reads would permit the Commission to dispense with the hearing in any case where the Commission determines that a hearing is not necessary in the public interest.
However, the United States Independent Telephone Association, as the representative of most of the independent telephone companies in this country, has voiced objection to the amendment as now proposed: that the Commission might decide that a public hearing is not necessary in some cases, even though an association of telephone companies or a telephone company other than the applicant might request a hearing and raise questions as to whether a proposed transaction would serve the public interest.
The Subcommittee on Communications of the Senate Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee, in hearings before that subcommittee in June 1955, requested this Commission to consider broadening the proposed language to assure also that a hearing would be held if requested by a State or local regulatory authority.
While we believe the public interest would be adequately protected by the Commission's administration of this section as the amendment now reads, we have worked with the Senate subcommittee and the association to arrive at a further revision.
The proposed further revision of section 221 (a) would specify that the Commission shall hold a hearing in every case if requested by a telephone company, an association of telephone companies, a State commission, or a local governmental authority.
Accordingly, the Commission has advised the Senate subcommittee that it has no objection to the further proposed revision, which is contained in the January 25, 1956, report, No. 1445, under the Senate bill S. 1456. The Senate bill thus amended reads:
SEC. 221. (a) Upon application of one or more telephone companies for authority to consolidate their properties or a part thereof into a single company, or for authority for one or more such companies to acquire the whole or any part of the property of another telephone company or other telephne companies or the control thereof by the purchase of securities or by lease or in any other like manner, when such consolidated company would be subject to this Act, the Commission shall give reasonable notice in writing to the Governor of each of the States in which the physical property affected, or any part thereof, is situated, and to the State commission having jurisdiction over telephone companies, and to such other persons as it may deem advisable, and shall afford such parties a reasonable opportunity to submit comments on the proposal. A public hearing shall be held in all cases where a request therefor is made by a telephone company, an association of telephone companies, a State commission, or local governmental authority. If the Commission finds that the proposed consolidation, acquisition, or control will be of advantage to the persons to whom service is to be rendered and in the public interest, it shall certify to that effect; and thereupon any Act or Acts of Congress making the proposed transaction unlawful shall not apply. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as in anywise limiting or restricting the powers of the several States to control and regulate telephone companies.
With regard to the proposed amendment to section 410 (a) of the act, in the Communications Act Amendments of 1952, Congress rewrote section 409 (a) of the act so as to provide that adjudicatory hearings should be conducted only by the Commission or by one or more examiners. This had the effect of forbidding the hearing of adjudicatory matters by a single member of the Commission.
With section 409 (a) so rewritten, it was necessary to make certain amendments to section 410 (a) to bring it into conformity with the new language of section 409 (a).
In amending section 410 (a), Congress provided that certain questions might continue to be referred to a joint board composed of a member, or members, selected from each of the States affected. In delineating the jurisdiction and powers conferred upon such joint boards, they were given all the jurisdiction and powers conferred by law upon the Commission, whereas the language replaced gave these joint boards only the same powers as possessed by a single member of the Commission when designated by the Commission to hold a hearing. It would seem that the new delegation of jurisdiction and powers is undesirably broad.
In any event, with the wording of section 410 (a) inserted by the Communications Act Amendments, 1952, it does not seem likely that the Commission would ever find it desirable to refer any matter to a joint board.
It is believed that if the second sentence of section 410 (a) were changed to give joint boards the same jurisdiction that is now conferred on an examiner, it would be more nearly what Congress must have intended and would make the section more usable to the Commission in the administration of the act.
Mr. HARRIS. You approve the suggested amendments; that is, the Commission approves the suggested amendments as contained in the bill reported by the Senate committee?
Mr. Cowgill. That is right.
Mr. HARRIS. With those suggested amendments, then the Commission is recommending this legislation ?
Mr. CowgILL. That is true.
Mr. DOLLIVER. I note that in connection with section 3 in this amendment, that was objected to in its original form by the independent
telephone companies. Has their objection been now removed by reason of the amendment which you agreed to in the Senate bill?
Mr. COWGILL. I understand it has.
We have had conferences with their representatives, and we have a witness to follow me that I believe will confirm that we are in agreement that the present wording is satisfactory to all parties concerned.
Mr. DOLLIVER. Thank you very much.
H. R. 5613 was introduced by the chairman of our committee to amend the Federal Communications Act of 1934 to provide for monetary forfeitures in the case of violations of the Federal Communications Commission's rules and regulations relating to radio stations other than broadcast stations.
Mr. WEBSTER. I will take that; yes, sir. I did not know that was coming up.
I would like to ask you and the committee if you could defer that. That bill had a hearing in the Senate with a lot of objections and they asked the Commission if our staff would work with the staff of the Senate committee to see if it could not be revised. They are now working on a revision.
Mr. HARRIS. This, I assume, is a bill that was suggested by the Commission and submitted to the chairman of this committee to introduce?
Mr. WEBSTER. Yes, sir.
Mr. HARRIS. In view of what has happened, as I understand, the Commission is reconsidering its previous action toward some possible revision?
Mr. WEBSTER. That is right. You will just waste your time, I think, because there will be a new casting of that bill.
Mr. HARRIS. Could you give us some idea of what the proposal is about?
Mr. WEBSTER. Generally speaking, without the bill in front of me, the difficulty we are having is in our enforcement that I spoke about a little while ago, especially on the small boats, of enforcing our rules and regulations and the act. You have to haul each one of them into court in order to get anywhere on enforcement.
Prosecuting attorneys are reluctant to take these cases into court; because they are small, they obviously do not call for the $10,000 fine and imprisonment that is provided for in the act.
We felt that there ought to be some system of monetary forfeitures so that you can assess a violator, and then, if he objects, he has his right to go to the court and get out of it the same as I go up to court here and try to get out of my ticket from a traffic violation. That, broadly, is it.
Mr. HARRIS. How much time do you think it will require to reconsider this matter?
Mr. WEBSTER. I know that we are trying to get it back up to that committee as fast as we can. I do not know what the status of it is. I cannot give it to you, sir; I am sorry. We are working on it and I would like to see it just as soon as possible myself, and I will take the responsibility.
Nr. HARRIS. Can we not have it in the next few days, weeks, or months?
Mr. WEBSTER. I will go back and see if we cannot get that in the next few weeks back to the Senate.
Mr. HARRIS. We are holding hearing on these proposals here. We want it here in the House. Mr. WEBSTER. Would you like to have a hearing on this phase of it?
a Mr. HARRIS. We are having a hearing on this phase of it now. We have set all of these bills for hearing and this is all going to be included in the hearings that will be printed.
Mr. WEBSTER. Well, I am sorry, sir. Personally, I did not know that this bill was on the schedule. I can give you the substance of the reasons behind it.
Mr. HARRIS. It has been here since April 18, 1955.
Mr. HARRIS. We have a letter from the Federal Communications Commission on it. Of course, they recommend the legislation, but in view of what has happened in connection with the hearings over on the other side of the Capitol, they are endeavoring to revise it.
Mr. WEBSTER. There were violent objections at that hearing and the committee there that day simply handed it back and said, “You have to get together with our staff and these people that object and see if you can rewrite it so that it will be satisfactory to all concerned," and our staff is doing that today.
Mr. HARRIS. We would like to have the benefit of any suggested revisions, together with a statement as to what is proposed and the position of the Commission, so that it can go in the record for attention when we are considering all of these bills before us.
Mr. WEBSTER. Yes, sir.
Mr. WOLVERTON. How many members were present at the Senate hearing when the violent objections were registered?
Mr. WEBSTER. Commissioners?
Mr. WOLVERTON. No; how many were present of the Senate committee when these violent objections were submitted ?
Mr. WEBSTER. If I remember correctly, there was the chairman of the subcommittee, who was the only one present.
Mr. WOLVERTON. That is running true to form, then.
Mr. HINSHAW. Mr. Chairman, I might point out that the Communications Act amendments were, I believe, entirely rewritten in the House last time, and the distinguished gentleman from New Jersey was the chairman of the committee at that point, and I think that the House may have taken an entirely different position from that of the Senate on these matters, and I think that is something that should be worked out in conference between the House and Senate and not have you work it out with the Senate staff.
Mr. WEBSTER. I am perfectly willing to testify right now. I think I have given you
the reason. Mr. HARRIS. We have a communication here which was submitted by the Commission to the Speaker, March 8, 1955, in which this bill was recommended. It is a rather lengthy communication, explaining it.
Obviously, from what has been said, the Commission wishes to take a little different position than this letter indicates.
What we would like to have for the record in connection with this problem is any suggested revisions that you might have, together with your comments for the benefit of the committee.
Mr. WEBSTER. Yes, sir.
Mr. HARRIS. We have a communication here from the Commission, dated January 25, 1956. I think we will have both of these included in the record so we can have a complete record of this matter here, and the background history of it.
As a result of these hearings in the Senate, the Commission is now extensively revising the proposal with respect to the authority to impose monetary forfeitures. It is expected that this revision will be forwarded to the House and Senate committees in the near future.
So we will look forward to receiving that additional report and it will be included in the record. (The information referred to follows:)
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION,
Washington D. C., March 7, 1956. Hon. OREN HARRIS,
Chairman, Subcommittee on Transportation and Communications, Committee
on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, Washington, D. C. DEAR CONGRESSMAN HARRIS : This is with further reference to H. R. 5613, a bill to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to provide for monetary forfeitures in case of violations of the Commission's rules and regulations relating to radio stations other than broadcast stations.
In the Commission's letter to you of January 25, 1956, we informed you that we were revising our proposal with respect to monetary forfeitures in light of the hearings that had been held in the Senate on 1549, a bill similar to H. R. 5613. The revision of this proposal has been completed and we wish to submit it for your consideration.
Enclosed is suggested new language and a memorandum explaining in detail the modifications proposed. While the memorandum and the new language refer to S. 1549, they are equally applicable to H. R. 5613. The principal modifications proposed are:
1. Liability for monetary forfeitures would be limited to a few violations that have a substantial and adverse effect on the communications of other licensees or are directly related to safety of life or property rather than extending to violations of all of the Commission's rules and regulations.
2. The violations to which the sanction would be applicable are specifically spelled out in the language of the proposed statute; e. g., unauthorized use of distress frequencies, failure to attenuate spurious emissions, failure to identify stations properly, operation of station by a person not holding the proper class of operator license.
3. The revised language provides for the sending of a notice of apparent liability and an opportunity to present a defense before the sanction is imposed.
The Commission very much appreciates your cooperation and interest in connection with this important legislation, and we hope that the revised proposal will receive prompt and favorable action by your subcommittee. We will be pleased to furnish any additional information or assistance that your subcommittee may desire. By direction of the Commission :
GEORGE C. McCONNAUGHEY, Chairman.
MEMORANDUM OF FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION CONCERNING PROPOSAL
TO MODIFY S. 1549
S. 1549 was introduced at the request of the Commission and formed a part of the Commission's legislative program. During the hearings which were held on this bill by your subcommittee, various objections to the proposal were expressed both by members of the subcommittee and witnesses who appeared before it. The Commission has given very serious and careful consideration to the objections which have been expressed, and we wish to submit the following additional comments to your subcommittee as well as a modification of the bill which you now have under consideration.
Before discussing the proposed modifications to the bill, the Commission believes it would be helpful to summarize the factual situation which prompted the submission of the proposal for monetary forfeitures. Since the end of World War II the Commission has been faced with a meteoric growth in the nonbroad