Government Report: March 7, 2007


Sen. Rockefeller to Reintroduce Bill Extending FCC Authority
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., has announced he plans to reintroduce a bill that would extend Federal Communications Commission authority of indecent programming to include cable and satellite content. The bill Rockefeller introduced in 2005 would have also required networks to double the amount of required children’s programming content and given greater control to local affiliates to reject offensive content. Rockefeller indicated that he will also seek to give the FCC the authority to regulate violent content on television, as the FCC requested in a letter to Congress last month.
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National Medical Association Supports DTC Advertising
The National Medical Association (NMA) released the results of a survey indicating that their member physicians support direct-to-consumer advertising as a means of educating patients and enhancing the doctor-patient dialogue. The NMA, which represents over 30,000 African-American physicians, reported that the percentage of doctors who agree that prescription drug advertisements are beneficial to consumers jumped from 42 percent in 2001 to 65 percent today. Eighty percent of surveyed doctors cited advertising as a key reason patients learned about treatment options. The group recommended improvements to DTC advertising campaigns, including a call to provide information to doctors prior to advertising to consumers. Many of their suggestions have been adopted by the pharmaceutical industry.
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"Do Not Mail" Bills Gain Traction in State Legislatures
Legislation creating "do not mail" registries has been introduced in at least 12 states this year. The bills would prohibit marketers from sending commercial mail to anyone who files an opt-out request with the state, in manner similar to the National Do Not Call Registry. Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New York, Texas, Vermont and Washington have introduced bills so far. While the popularity of these bills is rising with state legislatures, no hearings discussing the negative implications of the bills have taken place.
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Boston Considering Increasing Guerrilla Marketing Restrictions
The Boston City Council is considering increased marketing restrictions following two high-profile guerrilla marketing campaigns that wrecked havoc on the city in the past few months. City Council President Maureen Feeney said she will discuss increasing fines for unsanctioned marketing campaigns and further regulating such marketing. The City Council plans to hear from marketers as well as public officials before deciding whether any action should be taken.
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