FCC maze

The Federal Communications Commission is a massive regulatory bureaucracy with its fingers in everything from which cable TV channels you may see to whether a wardrobe malfunction broadcast nationally merits federal sanction.

Now comes Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., with legislation that would impose a handful of demands on FCC regulators in the name of transparency.

First, his bill calls for more use of cost-benefit analysis when writing proposed federal rules, a common-sense approach designed to recognize that economic reality must play a role in any regulatory agenda.

Second, Sen. Heller would like to see FCC officials get more input from the companies it oversees when writing new regulations. Again, this is simply common sense — regulators should seek as much input from as many sources as possible before imposing their heavy hand.

Finally, the measure would require the five-member FCC board to publish proposed new rules before voting on them, providing plenty of time for the public to digest, debate and comment on proposals.

Some Democrats oppose the Heller bill, arguing that it will handcuff and slow down the agency. Well, good. Fact is, any effort to impose more congressional or taxpayer scrutiny over unelected federal bureaucrats deserves a long look.


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