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H.R. 4401 (116th): Restore the Fairness Doctrine Act of 2019

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About the bill

Should a 1940s-to-1980s rule mandating more balanced media be reinstituted?


Beginning in the earliest years of television, from 1949 to 1987, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) required American television and radio broadcasters to present both sides — or all sides — of any political or social issue. It came to be nicknamed the Fairness Doctrine.

The Reagan-era FCC eliminated this rule, which was never reinstituted in subsequent decades under either party. Supporters of the rule’s elimination argued it helped the First Amendment and free speech, by eliminating forced speech or advocacy towards all sides — including sides a station’s ownership or management may have disagreed with.

On top of this, a subsequent Trump-era 2017 FCC decision loosened ownership restrictions on stations. In combination, these two decisions not only …

Sponsor and status

Tulsi Gabbard

Sponsor. Representative for Hawaii's 2nd congressional district. Democrat.

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Last Updated: Sep 19, 2019
Length: 2 pages
Sep 19, 2019
116th Congress (2019–2021)
Died in a previous Congress

This bill was introduced on September 19, 2019, in a previous session of Congress, but it did not receive a vote.

Although this bill was not enacted, its provisions could have become law by being included in another bill. It is common for legislative text to be introduced concurrently in multiple bills (called companion bills), re-introduced in subsequent sessions of Congress in new bills, or added to larger bills (sometimes called omnibus bills).



Sep 19, 2019

Bills and resolutions are referred to committees which debate the bill before possibly sending it on to the whole chamber.

H.R. 4401 (116th) was a bill in the United States Congress.

A bill must be passed by both the House and Senate in identical form and then be signed by the President to become law.

Bills numbers restart every two years. That means there are other bills with the number H.R. 4401. This is the one from the 116th Congress.

This bill was introduced in the 116th Congress, which met from Jan 3, 2019 to Jan 3, 2021. Legislation not passed by the end of a Congress is cleared from the books.

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