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AM Radio Bill Passes Senate Commerce Committee

Last week the Senate Commerce Committee approved the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act S. 1669 by voice vote. The only “no” vote was registered by Sen. Gary Peters from Michigan, still the home of the automobile industry. This is a huge step forward in enacting legislation. The bill is currently endorsed by 27 Senators including New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand. Sen. Chuck Schumer has also indicated he supports the bill. The next step will be to find time to bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote. The earliest this could occur would be this fall.

Upon passing the Senate Commerce Committee the key sponsors of the bill, Senator Ed. Markey (D MA) and Send Ted Cruz (R. TX) stated:

“Today’s vote to advance the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act sends a clear signal to carmakers,” said Senator Markey. “AM radio is an essential communication tool during emergencies, and for decades has been a source of news, entertainment, sports, and music for tens of millions of drivers. I thank Senator Cruz for his partnership as we work to cut through the noise and uphold access to AM radio as we plug into our clean energy, all-electric future.”
“AM radio serves a critical function during emergencies,” said Senator Cruz. “It reliably gets important information to the public, which is why several former FEMA administrators and representatives of the emergency response community have called for AM radio to remain in vehicles. AM radio is also vital to free expression and viewpoint diversity. With low barriers to entry, it allows Americans, especially conservatives, to communicate their points of view and help free speech flourish. I am proud to have worked with Senator Markey and our colleagues on both sides of the aisle on this legislation. It will have a big impact on our constituents who make AM radio part of their daily lives.”

To get the bill through the Commerce Committee, Senators Markey and Cruz agreed to some modifications. Most notably, the legislation requires the DOT, within one year, to enact a new regulation requiring all passenger vehicles to include AM receivers as standard equipment at no extra charge. Once the regulations are adopted, automakers will have 2-3 years to comply. This was done largely to deal with the time needed to retool the manufacturing process. While we would prefer a shorter compliance deadline, the bill sends a clear signal to the automakers that they must include an AM radio in their vehicles. During the interim, automobiles sold without an AM radio must have a label indicating they have no AM receiver in the vehicle.

We will keep you updated on the progress of the bill. As noted in the previous story, we are also attempting to move the legislation through the House of Representatives.

You can see the modified bill here.



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