PIRATE Act Passes U.S. House in First Congressional Session

U.S. Congress
U.S. Congress

The PIRATE Act has been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in the first session of the 116th Congress. It was originally passed as H.R. 5709 in July, 2018 by an unanimous vote. It now awaits a vote from the Senate. Under the Act, any person operating a pirate radio station will be subject to a fine of not more than $100,000 per day of operations and not more than $2 million in total.

Additionally, the FCC will be required to assign appropriate enforcement personal to focus specific and sustained attention on the elimination of pirate radio broadcasting within the top five radio markets not less than twice each year.

In a statement, NAB Executive VP/Communications Dennis Wharton said, "NAB thanks Reps. Tonko (D-NY) and Bilirakis (R-FL) for the introduction of the PIRATE Act, which strengthens the FCC's enforcement tools to combat illegal pirate radio operations. Unlicensed radio stations are not merely a nuisance to legitimate radio broadcasters who play by the rules. They also pose a threat to public safety by disrupting communications between air traffic controllers and airline pilots. We strongly urge bipartisan support of the PIRATE Act and we look forward to its swift passage."

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