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S. 2821 (is) To amend chapter 84 of title 5, United States Code, to make certain temporary Federal service performed for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation creditable for retirement purposes. [Introduced in Senate] ...


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108th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                S. 2820

   To ensure the availability of certain spectrum for public safety 
   entities by amending the Communications Act of 1934 to establish 
    January 1, 2009, as the date by which the transition to digital 
         television shall be completed, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                           September 21, 2004

  Mr. McCain introduced the following bill; which was read twice and 
   referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
   To ensure the availability of certain spectrum for public safety 
   entities by amending the Communications Act of 1934 to establish 
    January 1, 2009, as the date by which the transition to digital 
         television shall be completed, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Spectrum 
Availability for Emergency-Response and Law-Enforcement To Improve 
Vital Emergency Services Act'' or the ``SAVE LIVES Act''.
    (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Findings.
Sec. 3. Setting a specific date for the availability of spectrum for 
                            public safety organizations and creating a 
                            deadline for the transition to digital 
                            television.
Sec. 4. Studies of communications capabilities and needs.
Sec. 5. Statutory authority for the Department of Homeland Security's 
                            ``SAFECOM'' program.
Sec. 6. Grant program to provide enhanced interoperability of 
                            communications for first responders.
Sec. 7. Digital transition public safety communications grant and 
                            consumer assistance fund.
Sec. 8. Digital transition program.
Sec. 9. Label requirement for analog television sets.
Sec. 10. Report on consumer education program requirements.
Sec. 11. FCC to issue decision in certain proceedings.
Sec. 12. Definitions.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds the following:
            (1) In its final report, the 9-11 Commission advocated that 
        Congress pass legislation providing for the expedited and 
        increased assignment of radio spectrum for public safety 
        purposes. The 9-11 Commission stated that this spectrum was 
        necessary to improve communications between local, State and 
        Federal public safety organizations and public safety 
        organizations operating in neighboring jurisdictions that may 
        respond to an emergency in unison.
            (2) Specifically, the 9-11 Commission report stated ``The 
        inability to communicate was a critical element at the World 
        Trade Center, Pentagon and Somerset County, Pennsylvania, crash 
        sites, where multiple agencies and multiple jurisdictions 
        responded. The occurrence of this problem at three very 
        different sites is strong evidence that compatible and adequate 
        communications among public safety organizations at the local, 
        State, and Federal levels remains an important problem.''.
            (3) In the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, the Congress 
        directed the FCC to allocate spectrum currently being used by 
        television broadcasters to public safety agencies to use for 
        emergency communications. This spectrum has specific 
        characteristics that make it an outstanding choice for 
        emergency communications because signals sent over these 
        frequencies are able to penetrate walls and travel great 
        distances, and can assist multiple jurisdictions in deploying 
        interoperable communications systems.
            (4) This spectrum will not be fully available to public 
        safety agencies until the completion of the digital television 
        transition. The need for this spectrum is greater than ever. 
        The Nation cannot risk further loss of life due to public 
        safety agencies' first responders' inability to communicate 
        effectively in the event of another terrorist act or other 
        crisis, such as a hurricane, tornado, flood, or earthquake.
            (5) In the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Congress set a date 
        of December 31, 2006, for the termination of the digital 
        television transition. Under current law, however, the deadline 
        will be extended if fewer than 85 percent of the television 
        households in a market are able to continue receiving local 
        television broadcast signals.
            (6) Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael K. 
        Powell testified at a hearing before the Senate Commerce, 
        Science, and Transportation Committee on September 8, 2004, 
        that, absent government action, this extension may allow the 
        digital television transition to continue for ``decades'' or 
        ``multiples of decades''.
            (7) The Nation's public safety and welfare cannot be put 
        off for ``decades'' or ``multiples of decades''. The Federal 
        government should ensure that this spectrum is available for 
        use by public safety organizations by January 1, 2009.
            (8) Any plan to end the digital television transition would 
        be incomplete if it did not ensure that consumers would be able 
        to continue to enjoy over-the-air broadcast television with 
        minimal disruption. If broadcasters air only a digital signal, 
        some consumers may be unable to view digital transmissions 
        using their analog-only television set. Local broadcasters are 
        truly an important part of our homeland security and often an 
        important communications vehicle in the event of a national 
        emergency. Therefore, consumers who rely on over-the-air 
        television, particularly those of limited economic means, 
        should be assisted.
            (9) The New America Foundation has testified before 
        Congress that the cost to assist these 17.4 million exclusively 
        over-the-air households to continue to view television is less 
        than $1 billion dollars for equipment, which equates to roughly 
        3 percent of the Federal revenue likely from the auction of the 
        analog television spectrum.
            (10) Specifically, the New America Foundation has estimated 
        that the Federal Government's auction of this spectrum could 
        yield $30-to-$40 billion in revenue to the Treasury. Chairman 
        Powell stated at the September 8, 2004, hearing that 
        ``estimates of the value of that spectrum run anywhere from $30 
billion to $70 billion''.
            (11) Additionally, there will be societal benefits with the 
        return of the analog broadcast spectrum. Former FCC Chairman 
        Reed F. Hundt, at an April 28, 2004, hearing before the Senate 
        Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, testified that 
        this spectrum ``should be the fit and proper home of wireless 
        broadband''. Mr. Hundt continued, ``Quite literally, [with this 
        spectrum] the more millions of people in rural America will be 
        able to afford Big Broadband Internet access, the more hundreds 
        of millions of people in the world will be able to afford 
        joining the Internet community.''.
            (12) Due to the benefits that would flow to the Nation's 
        citizens from the Federal Government reclaiming this analog 
        television spectrum--including the safety of our Nation's first 
        responders and those protected by first responders, additional 
        revenues to the Federal treasury, millions of new jobs in the 
        telecommunications sector of the economy, and increased 
        wireless broadband availability to our Nation's rural 
        citizens--Congress finds it necessary to set January 1, 2009, 
        as a firm date for the return of this analog television 
        spectrum.

SEC. 3. SETTING A SPECIFIC DATE FOR THE AVAILABILITY OF SPECTRUM FOR 
              PUBLIC SAFETY ORGANIZATIONS AND CREATING A DEADLINE FOR 
              THE TRANSITION TO DIGITAL TELEVISION.

    (a) In General.--Section 309(j)(14) of the Communications Act of 
1934 (47 U.S.C. 309(j)(14)) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``2006.'' in subparagraph (A) and inserting 
        ``2008.'';
            (2) by striking subparagraph (B) and redesignating 
        subparagraphs (C) and (D) as subparagraphs (B) and (C);
            (3) by striking ``subparagraph (A) or (B),'' in 
        subparagraph (B), as redesignated, and inserting ``subparagraph 
        (A),''; and
            (4) by striking ``subparagraph (C)(i),'' in subparagraph 
        (C), as redesignated, and inserting ``subparagraph (B)(i),''.
    (b) Certain Commercial Use Spectrum.--The Commission shall assign 
the spectrum described in section 337(a)(2) of the Communications Act 
of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 337(a)(2)) allocated for commercial use by 
competitive bidding pursuant to section 309(j) of that Act (47 U.S.C. 
309(j)) no later than 1 year after the Commission transmits the report 
required by section 4(a) to the Congress.

SEC. 4. STUDIES OF COMMUNICATIONS CAPABILITIES AND NEEDS.

    (a) In General.--The Commission, in consultation with the Secretary 
of Homeland Security, shall conduct a study to assess strategies that 
may be used to meet public safety communications needs, including--
            (1) the short-term and long-term need for additional 
        spectrum allocation for Federal, State, and local first 
        responders, including an additional allocation of spectrum in 
        the 700 megaHertz band;
            (2) the need for a nationwide interoperable broadband 
        mobile communications network;
            (3) the ability of public safety entities to utilize 
        wireless broadband applications; and
            (4) the communications capabilities of first receivers such 
        as hospitals and health care workers, and current efforts to 
        promote communications coordination and training among the 
        first responders and the first receivers.
    (b) Reallocation Study.--The Commission shall conduct a study to 
assess the advisability of reallocating any amount of spectrum in the 
700 megaHertz band for unlicensed broadband uses. In the study, the 
Commission shall consider all other possible users of this spectrum, 
including public safety.
    (c) Report.--The Commission shall report the results of the 
studies, together with any recommendations it may have, to the Senate 
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House of 
Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce within 1 year after 
the date of enactment of this Act.

SEC. 5. STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY'S 
              ``SAFECOM'' PROGRAM.

    Section 302 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 182) is 
amended--
            (1) by inserting ``(a) In General.--'' before ``The''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following:
    ``(b) SAFECOM Authorized.--
            ``(1) In general.--In carrying out subsection (a), the 
        Under Secretary shall establish a program to address the 
        interoperability of communications devices used by Federal, 
        State, tribal, and local first responders, to be known as the 
        Wireless Public Safety Interoperability Communications Program, 
        or `SAFECOM'. The Under Secretary shall coordinate the program 
        with the Director of the Department of Justice's Office of 
        Science and Technology and all other Federal programs engaging 
        in communications interoperability research, development, and 
        funding activities to ensure that the program takes into 
        account, and does not duplicate, those programs or activities.
            ``(2) Components.--The program established under paragraph 
        (1) shall be designed--
                    ``(A) to provide research on the development of a 
                communications system architecture that would ensure 
                the interoperability of communications devices among 
                Federal, State, tribal, and local officials that would 
                enhance the potential for a coordinated response to a 
                national emergency;
                    ``(B) to support the completion and promote the 
                adoption of mutually compatible voluntary consensus 
                standards developed by a standards development 
                organization accredited by the American National 
                Standards Institute to ensure such interoperability; 
                and
                    ``(C) to provide for the development of a model 
                strategic plan that could be used by any State or 
                region in developing its communications 
                interoperability plan.
            ``(3) Authorization of appropriations.--There are 
        authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary to carry out 
        this subsection--
                    ``(A) $22,105,000 for fiscal year 2005;
                    ``(B) $22,768,000 for fiscal year 2006;
                    ``(C) $23,451,000 for fiscal year 2007;
                    ``(D) $24,155,000 for fiscal year 2008; and
                    ``(E) $24,879,000 for fiscal year 2009.
    ``(c) National Baseline Study of Public Safety Communications 
Interoperability.--By December 31, 2005, the Under Secretary of 
Homeland Security for Science and Technology shall complete a study to 
develop a national baseline for communications interoperability and 
develop common grant guidance for all Federal grant programs that 
provide communications-related resources or assistance to State and 
local agencies, any Federal programs conducting demonstration projects, 
providing technical assistance, providing outreach services, providing 
standards development assistance, or conducting research and 
development with the public safety community with respect to wireless 
communications. The Under Secretary shall transmit a report to the 
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House 
of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce containing the 
Under Secretary's findings, conclusions, and recommendations from the 
study.''.

SEC. 6. GRANT PROGRAM TO PROVIDE ENHANCED INTEROPERABILITY OF 
              COMMUNICATIONS FOR FIRST RESPONDERS.

    (a) In General.--The Secretary of Homeland Security shall establish 
a program to help State, local, tribal, and regional first responders 
acquire and deploy interoperable communications equipment, purchase 
such equipment, and train personnel in the use of such equipment. The 
Secretary, in cooperation with the heads of other Federal departments 
and agencies who administer programs that provide communications-
related assistance programs to State, local, and tribal public safety 
organizations, shall develop and implement common standards to the 
greatest extent practicable.
    (b) Applications.--To be eligible for assistance under the program, 
a State, local, tribal, or regional first responder agency shall submit 
an application, at such time, in such form, and containing such 
information as the Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Science and 
Technology may require, including--
            (1) a detailed explanation of how assistance received under 
        the program would be used to improve local communications 
        interoperability and ensure interoperability with other 
        appropriate Federal, State, local, tribal, and regional 
        agencies in a regional or national emergency;
            (2) assurance that the equipment and system would--
                    (A) not be incompatible with the communications 
                architecture developed under section 302(b)(2)(A) of 
                the Homeland Security Act of 2002;

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