FCC Seeks Revenge after NextWave Ruling
Chapter 12 Awaits President Bush's Signature
A bill to extend the farm bankruptcy law for six more months, retroactively to July 1, awaits President Bush's expected signature at press time for this issue. The bill was presented to the president on Aug. 7, meaning that the bill will likely be signed during the third week of August. A permanent extension and expansion of chapter 12 is contained in H.R. 975, the House-passed bankruptcy reform bill.
Asbestos Bill Consensus Collapses
Sen. Orrin Hatch's plan to find a legislative solution to the unending asbestos litigation crisis has run aground, amid unhappiness by the insurance industry, defendant companies, unions and the plaintiff bar. Hatch (R-Utah), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made numerous concessions to committee Democrats to win support without success. However, the concessions left the supposed beneficiaries of the law also in opposition. Hatch plans to continue to mark up the bill in committee after the Senate returns following Labor Day. There has been very little action in the House on the issue, making it very unlikely any bill will emerge during the first session of the 108th Congress. (See related article on p. 26.)
Senate Hearings Coming on Credit Counseling Industry Practices
The Senate Government Affairs Committee Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by new Senator Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), plans to hold oversight hearings on the consumer credit counseling industry. The industry has witnessed explosive growth in recent years, fueled by record consumer spending and household debt. Some have questioned the practices of some of the largest players in what is largely an unregulated area. The hearings are expected to focus on consumer protection issues including full disclosure of rates and costs.