Text: H.R.290 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

Text available as:

Shown Here:
Referred in Senate (01/24/2017)

 
[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H.R. 290 Referred in Senate (RFS)]

<DOC>
115th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 290


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                            January 24, 2017

    Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, 
                      Science, and Transportation

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
    To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to provide for greater 
 transparency and efficiency in the procedures followed by the Federal 
           Communications Commission, 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.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Federal Communications Commission 
Process Reform Act of 2017''.

SEC. 2. FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION PROCESS REFORM.

    (a) In General.--Title I of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 
U.S.C. 151 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

``SEC. 13. TRANSPARENCY AND EFFICIENCY.

    ``(a) Initial Rulemaking and Inquiry.--
            ``(1) Rulemaking.--Not later than 1 year after the date of 
        the enactment of this section, the Commission shall complete a 
        rulemaking proceeding and adopt procedural changes to its rules 
        to maximize opportunities for public participation and 
        efficient decisionmaking.
            ``(2) Requirements for rulemaking.--The rules adopted under 
        paragraph (1) shall--
                    ``(A) set minimum comment periods for comment and 
                reply comment, subject to a determination by the 
                Commission that good cause exists for departing from 
                such minimum comment periods, for--
                            ``(i) significant regulatory actions, as 
                        defined in Executive Order No. 12866; and
                            ``(ii) all other rulemaking proceedings;
                    ``(B) establish policies concerning the submission 
                of extensive new comments, data, or reports towards the 
                end of the comment period;
                    ``(C) establish policies regarding treatment of 
                comments, ex parte communications, and data or reports 
                (including statistical reports and reports to Congress) 
                submitted after the comment period to ensure that the 
                public has adequate notice of and opportunity to 
                respond to such submissions before the Commission 
                relies on such submissions in any order, decision, 
                report, or action;
                    ``(D) establish procedures for, not later than 14 
                days after the end of each quarter of a calendar year 
                (or more frequently, as the Commission considers 
                appropriate), publishing on the Internet website of the 
                Commission and submitting to Congress a report that 
                contains--
                            ``(i) the status of open rulemaking 
                        proceedings and proposed orders, decisions, 
                        reports, or actions on circulation for review 
                        by the Commissioners, including which 
                        Commissioners have not cast a vote on an order, 
                        decision, report, or action that has been on 
                        circulation for more than 60 days;
                            ``(ii) for the petitions, applications, 
                        complaints, and other requests for action by 
                        the Commission that were pending at the 
                        Commission on the last day of such quarter (or 
                        more frequent period, as the case may be)--
                                    ``(I) the number of such requests, 
                                broken down by the bureau primarily 
                                responsible for action and, for each 
                                bureau, the type of request (such as a 
                                petition, application, or complaint); 
                                and
                                    ``(II) information regarding the 
                                amount of time for which such requests 
                                have been pending, broken down as 
                                described in subclause (I); and
                            ``(iii) a list of the congressional 
                        investigations of the Commission that were 
                        pending on the last day of such quarter (or 
                        more frequent period, as the case may be) and 
                        the cost of such investigations, individually 
                        and in the aggregate;
                    ``(E) establish deadlines (relative to the date of 
                filing) for--
                            ``(i) in the case of a petition for a 
                        declaratory ruling under section 1.2 of title 
                        47, Code of Federal Regulations, issuing a 
                        public notice of such petition;
                            ``(ii) in the case of a petition for 
                        rulemaking under section 1.401 of such title, 
                        issuing a public notice of such petition; and
                            ``(iii) in the case of a petition for 
                        reconsideration under section 1.106 or 1.429 of 
                        such title or an application for review under 
                        section 1.115 of such title, issuing a public 
                        notice of a decision on the petition or 
                        application by the Commission or under 
                        delegated authority (as the case may be);
                    ``(F) establish guidelines (relative to the date of 
                filing) for the disposition of petitions filed under 
                section 1.2 of such title;
                    ``(G) establish procedures for the inclusion of the 
                specific language of the proposed rule or the proposed 
                amendment of an existing rule in a notice of proposed 
                rulemaking; and
                    ``(H) require notices of proposed rulemaking and 
                orders adopting a rule or amending an existing rule 
                that--
                            ``(i) create (or propose to create) a 
                        program activity to contain performance 
                        measures for evaluating the effectiveness of 
                        the program activity; and
                            ``(ii) substantially change (or propose to 
                        substantially change) a program activity to 
                        contain--
                                    ``(I) performance measures for 
                                evaluating the effectiveness of the 
                                program activity as changed (or 
                                proposed to be changed); or
                                    ``(II) a finding that existing 
                                performance measures will effectively 
                                evaluate the program activity as 
                                changed (or proposed to be changed).
            ``(3) Inquiry.--Not later than 1 year after the date of the 
        enactment of this section, the Commission shall complete an 
        inquiry to seek public comment on whether and how the 
        Commission should--
                    ``(A) establish procedures for allowing a 
                bipartisan majority of Commissioners to place an order, 
                decision, report, or action on the agenda of an open 
                meeting;
                    ``(B) establish procedures for informing all 
                Commissioners of a reasonable number of options 
                available to the Commission for resolving a petition, 
                complaint, application, rulemaking, or other 
                proceeding;
                    ``(C) establish procedures for ensuring that all 
                Commissioners have adequate time, prior to being 
                required to decide a petition, complaint, application, 
                rulemaking, or other proceeding (including at a meeting 
                held pursuant to section 5(d)), to review the proposed 
                Commission decision document, including the specific 
                language of any proposed rule or any proposed amendment 
                of an existing rule;
                    ``(D) establish procedures for publishing the text 
                of agenda items to be voted on at an open meeting in 
                advance of such meeting so that the public has the 
                opportunity to read the text before a vote is taken;
                    ``(E) establish deadlines (relative to the date of 
                filing) for disposition of applications for a license 
                under section 1.913 of title 47, Code of Federal 
                Regulations;
                    ``(F) assign resources needed in order to meet the 
                deadlines described in subparagraph (E), including 
                whether the Commission's ability to meet such deadlines 
                would be enhanced by assessing a fee from applicants 
                for such a license; and
                    ``(G) except as otherwise provided in section 4(p), 
                publish each order, decision, report, or action not 
                later than 30 days after the date of the adoption of 
                such order, decision, report, or action.
            ``(4) Data for performance measures.--The Commission shall 
        develop a performance measure or proposed performance measure 
        required by this subsection to rely, where possible, on data 
        already collected by the Commission.
            ``(5) GAO audit.--Not less frequently than every 6 months, 
        the Comptroller General of the United States shall audit the 
        cost estimates provided by the Commission under paragraph 
        (2)(D)(iii) during the preceding 6-month period.
    ``(b) Periodic Review.--On the date that is 5 years after the 
completion of the rulemaking proceeding under subsection (a)(1), and 
every 5 years thereafter, the Commission shall initiate a new 
rulemaking proceeding to continue to consider such procedural changes 
to its rules as may be in the public interest to maximize opportunities 
for public participation and efficient decisionmaking.
    ``(c) Nonpublic Collaborative Discussions.--
            ``(1) In general.--Notwithstanding section 552b of title 5, 
        United States Code, a bipartisan majority of Commissioners may 
        hold a meeting that is closed to the public to discuss official 
        business if--
                    ``(A) a vote or any other agency action is not 
                taken at such meeting;
                    ``(B) each person present at such meeting is a 
                Commissioner, an employee of the Commission, a member 
                of a joint board or conference established under 
                section 410, or a person on the staff of such a joint 
                board or conference or of a member of such a joint 
                board or conference; and
                    ``(C) an attorney from the Office of General 
                Counsel of the Commission is present at such meeting.
            ``(2) Disclosure of nonpublic collaborative discussions.--
        Not later than 2 business days after the conclusion of a 
        meeting held under paragraph (1), the Commission shall publish 
        a disclosure of such meeting, including--
                    ``(A) a list of the persons who attended such 
                meeting; and
                    ``(B) a summary of the matters discussed at such 
                meeting, except for such matters as the Commission 
                determines may be withheld under section 552b(c) of 
                title 5, United States Code.
            ``(3) Preservation of open meetings requirements for agency 
        action.--Nothing in this subsection shall limit the 
        applicability of section 552b of title 5, United States Code, 
        with respect to a meeting of Commissioners other than that 
        described in paragraph (1).
    ``(d) Access to Certain Information on Commission's Website.--The 
Commission shall provide direct access from the homepage of its website 
to--
            ``(1) detailed information regarding--
                    ``(A) the budget of the Commission for the current 
                fiscal year;
                    ``(B) the appropriations for the Commission for 
                such fiscal year; and
                    ``(C) the total number of full-time equivalent 
                employees of the Commission; and
            ``(2) the performance plan most recently made available by 
        the Commission under section 1115(b) of title 31, United States 
        Code.
    ``(e) Internet Publication of Certain FCC Policies and 
Procedures.--The chairman of the Commission shall--
            ``(1) publish on the Internet website of the Commission any 
        policies or procedures of the Commission that--
                    ``(A) are established by the chairman; and
                    ``(B) relate to the functioning of the Commission 
                or the handling of the agenda of the Commission; and
            ``(2) update such publication not later than 48 hours after 
        the chairman makes changes to any such policies or procedures.
    ``(f) Federal Register Publication.--
            ``(1) In general.--In the case of any document adopted by 
        the Commission that the Commission is required, under any 
        provision of law, to publish in the Federal Register, the 
        Commission shall, not later than the date described in 
        paragraph (2), complete all Commission actions necessary for 
        such document to be so published.
            ``(2) Date described.--The date described in this paragraph 
        is the earlier of--
                    ``(A) the day that is 45 days after the date of the 
                release of the document; or
                    ``(B) the day by which such actions must be 
                completed to comply with any deadline under any other 
                provision of law.
            ``(3) No effect on deadlines for publication in other 
        form.--In the case of a deadline that does not specify that the 
        form of publication is publication in the Federal Register, the 
        Commission may comply with such deadline by publishing the 
        document in another form. Such other form of publication does 
        not relieve the Commission of any Federal Register publication 
        requirement applicable to such document, including the 
        requirement of paragraph (1).
    ``(g) Consumer Complaint Database.--
            ``(1) In general.--In evaluating and processing consumer 
        complaints, the Commission shall present information about such 
        complaints in a publicly available, searchable database on its 
        website that--
                    ``(A) facilitates easy use by consumers; and
                    ``(B) to the extent practicable, is sortable and 
                accessible by--
                            ``(i) the date of the filing of the 
                        complaint;
                            ``(ii) the topic of the complaint;
                            ``(iii) the party complained of; and
                            ``(iv) other elements that the Commission 
                        considers in the public interest.
            ``(2) Duplicative complaints.--In the case of multiple 
        complaints arising from the same alleged misconduct, the 
        Commission shall be required to include only information 
        concerning one such complaint in the database described in 
        paragraph (1).
    ``(h) Form of Publication.--
            ``(1) In general.--In complying with a requirement of this 
        section to publish a document, the Commission shall publish 
        such document on its website, in addition to publishing such 
        document in any other form that the Commission is required to 
        use or is permitted to and chooses to use.
            ``(2) Exception.--The Commission shall by rule establish 
        procedures for redacting documents required to be published by 
        this section so that the published versions of such documents 
        do not contain--
                    ``(A) information the publication of which would be 
                detrimental to national security, homeland security, 
                law enforcement, or public safety; or
                    ``(B) information that is proprietary or 
                confidential.
    ``(i) Transparency Relating to Performance in Meeting FOIA 
Requirements.--The Commission shall take additional steps to inform the 
public about its performance and efficiency in meeting the disclosure 
and other requirements of section 552 of title 5, United States Code 
(commonly referred to as the Freedom of Information Act), including by 
doing the following:
            ``(1) Publishing on the Commission's website the 
        Commission's logs for tracking, responding to, and managing 
        requests submitted under such section, including the 
        Commission's fee estimates, fee categories, and fee request 
        determinations.
            ``(2) Releasing to the public all decisions made by the 
        Commission (including decisions made by the Commission's 
        Bureaus and Offices) granting or denying requests filed under 
        such section, including any such decisions pertaining to the 
        estimate and application of fees assessed under such section.
            ``(3) Publishing on the Commission's website electronic 
        copies of documents released under such section.
            ``(4) Presenting information about the Commission's 
        handling of requests under such section in the Commission's 
        annual budget estimates submitted to Congress and the 
        Commission's annual performance and financial reports. Such 
        information shall include the number of requests under such 
        section the Commission received in the most recent fiscal year, 
        the number of such requests granted and denied, a comparison of 
        the Commission's processing of such requests over at least the 
        previous 3 fiscal years, and a comparison of the Commission's 
        results with the most recent average for the United States 
        Government as published on www.foia.gov.
    ``(j) Prompt Release of Statistical Reports and Reports to 
Congress.--Not later than January 15th of each year, the Commission 
shall identify, catalog, and publish an anticipated release schedule 
for all statistical reports and reports to Congress that are regularly 
or intermittently released by the Commission and will be released 
during such year.
    ``(k) Annual Scorecard Reports.--
            ``(1) In general.--For the 1-year period beginning on 
        January 1st of each year, the Commission shall prepare a report 
        on the performance of the Commission in conducting its 
        proceedings and meeting the deadlines established under 
        subsection (a)(2)(E) and the guidelines established under 
        subsection (a)(2)(F).
            ``(2) Contents.--Each report required by paragraph (1) 
        shall contain detailed statistics on such performance, 
        including, with respect to each Bureau of the Commission--
                    ``(A) with respect to each type of filing specified 
                in subsection (a)(2)(E) or (a)(2)(F)--
                            ``(i) the number of filings that were 
                        pending on the last day of the period covered 
                        by such report;
                            ``(ii) the number of filings described in 
                        clause (i) for which each applicable deadline 
                        or guideline established under such subsection 
                        was not met and the average length of time such 
                        filings have been pending; and
                            ``(iii) for filings that were resolved 
                        during such period, the average time between 
                        initiation and resolution and the percentage 
                        for which each applicable deadline or guideline 
                        established under such subsection was met;
                    ``(B) with respect to proceedings before an 
                administrative law judge--
                            ``(i) the number of such proceedings 
                        completed during such period; and
                            ``(ii) the number of such proceedings 
                        pending on the last day of such period; and
                    ``(C) the number of independent studies or analyses 
                published by the Commission during such period.
            ``(3) Publication and submission.--The Commission shall 
        publish and submit to the Committee on Energy and Commerce of 
        the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, 
        Science, and Transportation of the Senate each report required 
        by paragraph (1) not later than the date that is 30 days after 
        the last day of the period covered by such report.
    ``(l) Definitions.--In this section:
            ``(1) Amendment.--The term `amendment' includes, when used 
        with respect to an existing rule, the deletion of such rule.
            ``(2) Bipartisan majority.--The term `bipartisan majority' 
        means, when used with respect to a group of Commissioners, that 
        such group--
                    ``(A) is a group of three or more Commissioners; 
                and
                    ``(B) includes, for each political party of which 
                any Commissioner is a member, at least one Commissioner 
                who is a member of such political party, and, if any 
                Commissioner has no political party affiliation, at 
                least one unaffiliated Commissioner.
            ``(3) Performance measure.--The term `performance measure' 
        means an objective and quantifiable outcome measure or output 
        measure (as such terms are defined in section 1115 of title 31, 
        United States Code).
            ``(4) Program activity.--The term `program activity' has 
        the meaning given such term in section 1115 of title 31, United 
        States Code, except that such term also includes any annual 
        collection or distribution or related series of collections or 
        distributions by the Commission of an amount that is greater 
        than or equal to $100,000,000.
            ``(5) Other definitions.--The terms `agency action', `ex 
        parte communication', and `rule' have the meanings given such 
        terms in section 551 of title 5, United States Code.''.
    (b) Effective Dates and Implementing Rules.--
            (1) Effective dates.--
                    (A) Nonpublic collaborative discussions.--
                Subsection (c) of section 13 of the Communications Act 
                of 1934, as added by subsection (a), shall apply 
                beginning on the first date on which all of the 
                procedural changes to the rules of the Federal 
                Communications Commission required by subsection (a)(1) 
                of such section have taken effect.
                    (B) Report release schedules.--Subsection (j) of 
                such section 13 shall apply with respect to 2018 and 
                any year thereafter.
                    (C) Annual scorecard reports.--Subsection (k) of 
                such section 13 shall apply with respect to 2017 and 
                any year thereafter.
                    (D) Internet publication of certain fcc policies 
                and procedures.--Subsection (e) of such section 13 
                shall apply beginning on the date that is 30 days after 
                the date of the enactment of this Act.
            (2) Rules.--Except as otherwise provided in such section 
        13, the Federal Communications Commission shall promulgate any 
        rules necessary to carry out such section not later than 1 year 
        after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 3. CATEGORIZATION OF TCPA INQUIRIES AND COMPLAINTS IN QUARTERLY 
              REPORT.

    In compiling its quarterly report with respect to informal consumer 
inquiries and complaints, the Federal Communications Commission may not 
categorize an inquiry or complaint with respect to section 227 of the 
Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 227) as being a wireline inquiry 
or complaint or a wireless inquiry or complaint unless the party whose 
conduct is the subject of the inquiry or complaint is a wireline 
carrier or a wireless carrier, respectively.

SEC. 4. EFFECT ON OTHER LAWS.

    Nothing in this Act or the amendments made by this Act shall 
relieve the Federal Communications Commission from any obligations 
under title 5, United States Code, except where otherwise expressly 
provided.

SEC. 5. APPLICATION OF ANTIDEFICIENCY ACT TO UNIVERSAL SERVICE PROGRAM.

    Section 302 of Public Law 108-494 (118 Stat. 3998) is amended by 
striking ``December 31, 2017'' each place it appears and inserting 
``December 31, 2021''.

SEC. 6. REPORT ON IMPROVING SMALL BUSINESS PARTICIPATION IN FCC 
              PROCEEDINGS.

    Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, 
the Federal Communications Commission, in consultation with the 
Administrator of the Small Business Administration, shall submit to 
Congress a report on--
            (1) actions that the Commission will take to improve the 
        participation of small businesses in the proceedings of the 
        Commission; and
            (2) recommendations for any legislation that the Commission 
        considers appropriate to improve such participation.

SEC. 7. TIMELY AVAILABILITY OF ITEMS ADOPTED BY VOTE OF THE COMMISSION.

    (a) Amendment.--Section 4 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 
U.S.C. 154) is amended by adding at the end the following:
    ``(p) In the case of any item that is adopted by vote of the 
Commission, the Commission shall publish on the Internet website of the 
Commission the text of such item not later than 24 hours after the 
Secretary of the Commission has received dissenting statements from all 
Commissioners wishing to submit such a statement with respect to such 
item.''.
    (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made by this section shall apply 
with respect to an item that is adopted after the date that is 30 days 
after the date of the enactment of this Act.

            Passed the House of Representatives January 23, 2017.

            Attest:

                                                 KAREN L. HAAS,

                                                                 Clerk.

Share This