Omnibus Funding Bill Passes – Additional $1 Billion for Repacking Costs
For nearly three years NYSBA, NAB, and other state broadcast associations have been urging Congress to increase funding for costs associated with the repacking. These efforts came to fruition last week with the passage of the Omnibus spending bill.
The bill provides an additional $1 billion to cover repacking costs. Of this amount, $600 million was allocated to cover additional costs of TV and Class A station repacking. LPTV and translators, which were left out of the initial funding, will receive $150 million. Radio stations affected by the repacking will receive $50 million. Also, $50 million has been allocated to consumer education.
We would like to thank all the stations in New York State who helped lobby for this important issue. Several New York representatives have leadership roles on the House Appropriations Committee. We would like to send a special thank you to Congresswomen Nita Lowey (D. NY 17th), Congressman Jose Serrano (D. NY 15th), and Congresswoman Grace Meng (D. NY 6th).
Omnibus Legislation Establishes Broadcasters As First Responders
For several years we have been pushing to recognize broadcasters as “First Responders” during emergencies. The legislation passed last week recognizes that broadcasters are entitled to priority considerations during emergencies. What does this mean? First, it will permit broadcasters access to “sealed off” areas during emergencies to either report the news or gain access to their facilities. Second, it will allow stations to obtain priority access to funding and resources, such as fuel. These provisions were all part of the “SANDY Act” which was originally sponsored by Congressman Frank Pallone (D. NJ 6th).