Exhibition-Related Issues Include Violence,
The 109th Congress:
A Legislative Overview
by Jonathan Yarowsky
NATO Washington Counsel
The 108th Congress finally
adjourned sine die Dec. 8, concluding a long and contentious
overshadowed by the 2004 presidential election. Even post-election,
the Congress returned for a short “lame duck” session
in order to pass the important “intelligence reform” package.
Although the anti-camcording legislation (containing liability
protections for theatre owners) passed each House separately,
the legislation could not move to the president’s
desk because of attempts to add an unrelated bill to the
package of anti-piracy provisions.
The new 109th Congress was sworn in Jan.
4. Even with changes in composition on the key committees
interest to NATO, we expect the following issues to resurface
Protection: NATO will
continue to work to pass effective anti-camcordering legislation
the federal level. Despite the procedural entanglement
at the end of the last Congress, the theatre immunity language
in the anti-camcording legislation has bipartisan support
in both the House and Senate. NATO will continue to work
with our friends at the MPAA and in the entertainment industry
to achieve passage of these provisions, whether as part
of a larger anti-piracy package or as a stand-alone measure.
In the same vein, NATO will also continue
to work with the newly established Coalition of Entertainment
Trade Associations (CERTA), representing the voice of entertainment
retail on Capitol Hill, on a variety of issues, including
intellectual property, piracy and media violence.
Media Violence: We
fully expect that the new Congress will continue to give
careful scrutiny to
media violence. In the past, such oversight has often been
triggered by the periodic release of reports by the Federal
Trade Commission (FTC) on marketing practices of the entertainment
industry in bringing violent content to young people.
Over the past five years that the FTC has
conducted these reviews, the exhibition industry has received
from the FTC, vis-à-vis other entertainment retailers,
for their efforts to decrease youth exposure to violent
material. NATO’s membership must continue to be vigilant
in its voluntary “self-regulation” code of
conduct to enforce the entertainment rating code at its
Association Health Plans
passage in the House, AHP legislation was unable to move
to the Senate
floor in the 108th Congress. NATO remains a strong supporter
of AHPs as an innovative and timely vehicle to provide
health insurance to its members, especially its smaller,
independent members. For that reason, NATO will once again
be an active member of the “AHPs Now!” coalition
in the new Congress.
With a new political configuration in both
the House and Senate, and with many new leadership figures
in the key
jurisdictional committees, the 109th Congress looms as
a time of both challenge and opportunity for NATO. Building
on its strong relationships with key players in the Congress,
NATO will continue to represent your interests every day
so that the voice of exhibition will be heard loud and
clear on Capitol Hill.