WASHINGTON (AP) _ In the latest effort to curb indecency over the airwaves, the Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved raising the maximum fines for broadcasters and personalities who cross the line.
Under the measure passed by a 99-1 vote, the maximum fine for both broadcasters and entertainers would increase to up to $275,000 per indecent incident, up from $27,500 for license holders and $11,000 for personalities, for a maximum fine of $3 million a day.
The House has passed a similar bill, and differences between the two must be worked out.
The Senate moved the measure without debate as part of the massive defense bill expected to be approved later this week. The only senator to vote against the bill was Sen. John Breaux, D-La.
The legislation already had been ``widely discussed,'' said GOP Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, who sponsored the legislation.
Federal law and FCC rules prohibit over-the-air radio and TV stations from airing offensive material that refers to sexual and excretory functions between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., when children may be tuned in. There are no such restrictions for cable and satellite TV and satellite radio.
Introduced in January following FCC Chairman Michael Powell's call for higher fines, the bill wound up on a fast track to passage after the now-infamous Feb. 1 Super Bowl halftime show that ended with singer Justin Timberlake partially exposing Janet Jackson's breast to 90 million viewers.