Monday, July 23, 2018

FCC Transparency Act Would Mandate Releasing Draft Items Before Vote

Last week, Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) reintroduced the FCC Transparency Act, H.R. 6422, which would mandate that the Commission publish the draft items to be considered at public meetings 21 days in advance of the vote. The FCC adopted this practice under Chairman Ajit Pai but this legislation would require the practice for all Commissions moving forward.

FCC Commissioner Michael O’Reilly made the following statement about the legislation:

I applaud Representative Kinzinger on reintroducing the Federal Communications Commission Transparency Act. This legislation codifies the current and critical Commission practice of publicly posting items three weeks in advance of their consideration at monthly Commission meetings. As a result of this practice, unnecessary discussions of non-existent issues have been eliminated, conversations are more productive, Commissioners are still speaking their minds and negotiating internally on items, and work product has greatly improved. I have also seen comments from all Commissioner offices — Republican and Democrats — in favor of the practice. Despite the broad support for this program, as well as Chairman Pai’s effort to initiate this reform for added agency transparency, I believe codifying this practice is important to ensuring its longevity.
FSF scholars have advocated for draft items to be released before the Commission votes on them, because the additional transparency promotes rule of law and due process norms, enhances public confidence in the integrity of the agency’s decision-making, and increases the FCC’s efficiency. See this January 2017 blog by FSF President Randolph May.