Committee Documents Online -- 106th Congress
LOCAL TV Act of 2000 (S. 2097)
Brief Section-By-Section Analysis
February 24, 2000
Section 1. Short Title
Section 2. Purpose
- The bill may be cited as the "Launching Our Communities' Access to Local Televison Act of 2000" (the "LOCAL TV Act of 2000").
Section 3. LOCAL Television Loan Guarantee Board
- The purpose of the Act is to facilitate access, on a technologically neutral basis and by December 31, 2006, to signals of local television stations in unserved and underserved areas.
Section 4. Approval of Loan Guarantees
- This section establishes and describes the functions of the LOCAL Television Loan Guarantee Board (the "Board"). The Board will contain three members, including the Secretary of the Treasury, the Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve System, and the Secretary of Agriculture. Each of these members may appoint a designee, though their designees must be officers of the United States pursuant to appointment by the President and with the advice and consent of the Senate.
- A majority vote of the Board is required for approval of a loan guarantee.
- The Board will consult with Federal departments and agencies as needed to carry out its functions under this Act. Departments or agencies consulted by the Board must supply necessary assistance.
Section 5. Administration of Loan Guarantees
- This section outlines the process by which the Board will approve loan guarantees. The Board is required to prescribe the application process, including appropriate safeguards against evasions of the Act and other provisions the Board deems appropriate. These provisions will be enforced by the Administrator of the Act.
- Specific criteria must be met in order for the Board to approve a loan guarantee. For example, the loan must not be used for operating expenses. Also, underwriting criteria established by the Board, in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget and an independent accounting firm, must be met.
- The Board may approve loan guarantees under the Act only if provided for in advance in appropriations Acts. To the extent that appropriations do not cover the subsidy cost of loan guarantees, the Board must accept credit risk premiums. These premiums must be from a non-Federal source.
- The Board may guarantee up to 70 percent of that portion of a loan that will be used to provide local television signals.
- The Board will give priority to loan guarantees that promote access to local television signals in "unserved" areas. The term "unserved" refers to areas not within the grade B contour of their local broadcast station and without access to such signals via any other widely-marketed means. The term "underserved" area refers to areas that do not receive local television broadcast signals over a commercial satellite distribution system.
Section 6. Annual Audit
- Administration of the loan guarantee program will be conducted by the Administrator of the Rural Utilities Service (the "Administrator"). The Administrator will enforce the terms specified by the Board and monitor the loan guarantees granted by the Board.
- The Board may require collateral to consist of assets of the applicant and/or an affiliate of the applicant.
- The Board may make downward (but not upward) adjustments to the valuation of an applicant's collateral if it reasonably believes such valuations are appropriate.
- The Board may permit modification of any term or condition of a loan guarantee under this Act, but only, among other things, if the modification is consistent with the financial interests of the United States.
- The Administrator will have liens of assets securing a guaranteed loan that are superior to all other liens on such assets.
- Property or other interests that come into the possession of the Administrator under this Act must be sold or disposed of in an orderly and efficient manner.
- A person or entity that becomes insolvent or is in bankruptcy shall not be released from obligations to the Federal Government pursuant to this Act.
Section 7. Sunset
- This section requires the GAO to conduct an annual audit of the loan guarantee program and to submit these reports to the Congress.
Section 8. Retransmission of Local Television Broadcast Stations.
- This section provides that no loan may be guaranteed under this Act after December 31, 2006.
Section 9. Definitions.
- The language in this section follows similar language in the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999. The provision prohibits a satellite carrier from charging a fee to a local television broadcast station for the retransmission of its signal.
Section 10. Authorizations of Appropriations.
- This section provides definitions of four terms used in the Act.
- This section authorizes appropriations for both the cost of the loan guarantees under this Act and the cost associated with carrying out the loan guarantee program.