The AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act sailed through markup in the Thursday, July 27 executive session of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, bringing the legislation a step closer to securing a future for AM radio in the auto dashboard.
After several leading automakers announced plans to remove AM radio capabilities from new electric vehicle lines, lawmakers in the House and Senate worked across the political aisle to introduce proposals (H.R.3413 and S.1669) on May 17 that would keep AM radio available and accessible to U.S. drivers.
“Not only does AM radio benefit listeners across America as an accessible platform for news, information, and Christian content, but AM radio is time-tested and resilient in times of emergency,” commented NRB President & CEO Troy A. Miller of the legislation. “We commend these lawmakers for standing with local broadcasters and developing a proposal to secure the future of AM radio in all automobiles.”
A legislative proposal heading to markup is an early, key step toward becoming law. After the bill is introduced and read, it is referred to its respective committee. In a markup session, members weigh in on and study the components of a bill, offering and rejecting various amendments. Then, the bill can be voted out of committee by majority vote, after which it is reported to the floor of the full chamber.
On Thursday morning, the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act (S. 1669) was voted out of committee with ease, with only Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) changing his vote to “no” after an initially unanimous vote. The bill received broad bipartisan support in the Committee’s executive session, a promising sign for its future before the full Senate.
A manager’s amendment (package of amendments from the lead sponsor or committee chair) was introduced earlier in the week, making a few tailored adjustments to the original bill. The amendments include new provisions that narrow the bill to “passenger motor vehicles” as opposed to “motor vehicles” more generally. Language was amended such that rather than requiring “dashboard access” in a manner that is “conspicuous,” the rule would require “access to AM broadcast stations” be “easily accessible.” Changes were also made to the effective date and to the fee structure, stating that manufacturers could not charge an additional fee beyond the base price of vehicles to include AM radio access. The core elements of the bill, requiring that AM radio will remain in cars and be placed in cars that have eliminated it, have not been changed.
Watch the Committee’s markup here, read more on the legislative process here, and learn more about the Senate bill here. NRB continues to monitor this legislation, champion the preservation of AM radio, and communicate with lawmakers about AM radio’s impact on religious listeners across the country.