September 24, 2008

Jeff Perlman, Executive Vice President – Government Affairs
Clark Rector Jr., Senior Vice President – State Government Affairs
Robert Kohlmeyer, Manager – Government Affairs

Senate Appropriations Subcommittees Hold Food Marketing to Children Hearing

At a joint hearing of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies and Financial Services and General Government Subcommittees of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said that concerning food marketing to children, "self-regulation is the better route to go." Nevertheless, self-regulation was heavily criticized. One advocacy group called for uniform nutrition standards, permitting food advertising to children only when the products meet a certain threshold. Most media companies, with Disney as a notable exception, were condemned for not doing more toward combating childhood obesity. In July, the Federal Trade Commission released a report commissioned by the Senate Appropriations Committee, finding that food and beverage companies spent about $1.6 billion marketing to children aged 2&endash;17 in 2006, far lower than previously thought. FTC Commissioner Jon Liebowitz said that his agency is ready to prepare a follow-up report if the committee requests it.
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Commerce Committee Holds Digital Television Transition Oversight Hearing

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel Inoyue, D-Hawaii, said that he is "deeply concerned" that the benefits of the analog-to-digital broadcasting transition may be "overshadowed by poor implementation." His remarks came during a Commerce Committee hearing on oversight of the transition this week. The committee heard testimony from the Federal Communications Commission, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, as well as Wilmington, N.C., Mayor Bill Saffor, whose city became the country's first to broadcast exclusively on a digital spectrum earlier this month. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said that he agreed with Sen. Inoyue that Congress had not provided enough funding for the transition. Inouye said that he will work to secure an additional $20 million for the FCC's transition efforts. Last week the House Energy and Commerce Committee Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee held a hearing on the same topic.
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Commerce Committee to Hold Behavioral Advertising Hearing

The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing this week on broadband providers and consumer privacy, hearing testimony from Internet service providers on behavioral advertising practices. Scheduled witnesses include Dorothy Attwood, senior vice president, public policy and chief privacy officer, AT&T Services Inc.; Peter Stern, chief strategy officer, Time Warner Cable; Thomas J. Tauke, executive vice president, public affairs, policy and communications, Verizon Communications Inc.; and Gigi B. Sohn, president, Public Knowledge.
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