Companion Bill Introduced in US House to Provide Technical Resources to FCC Commissioners
Following the Senate's lead, Representative Jerry McNerny (D-CA-11), introduced HR 4809 -- the FCC Commissioners' Technical Resource Enhancement Act -- in the House of Representatives on March 10. Copying the exact language from S 2881 (a bill with the same name) introduced by Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) in December 2009, the bill seeks to provide greater technical resources to FCC Commissioners.
If passed, wording in Section 4(f)(2) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended would be added to allow each of the five FCC Commissioners to appoint "an electrical engineer or computer scientist" for the purpose of "technical consultation when appropriate and to interface with the Office of Engineering and Technology, Commission Bureaus and other technical staff of the Commission for additional technical input and resources." According to the bill's language, the appointee must hold, at minimum, an undergraduate degree from an "institution of higher education in their respective field of expertise."
To date, the Senate version has been read twice and referred to the Senate's Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. The House version has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has marked the bills as "identical."
At its 2010 Annual Meeting this past January, the ARRL Board of Directors endorsed the proposal to add a technical engineer/scientist to each FCC Commissioner's staff, as described in S 2881.