September 12, 1996 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — SENATE S10429 SENATE RESOLUTION—290—REL- reviled as the most lewd, crude, and suggest that television’s problems have ATIVE TO MAJOR BROADCAST rude prime-time lineup in television disappeared practically overnight, or TELEVISION NETWORKS history, and for helping to drag our so- that the viewing public is suddenly sat- Mr. LIEBERMAN (for himself, Mrs. cietal standards down yet another isfied. The reality is that there is still HUTCHISON, Mr. NUNN, Mr. DEWINE, Mr. notch. too much gratuitous and gruesome vio- So today, with the debut of the 1996 lence not only available to but tar- COATS, Mr. FAIRCLOTH, Mr. BYRD, Mrs. fall season upon us, I think it is only geted at our children; there are still KASSEBAUM, Mr. DORGAN, Mr. CONRAD, fair and right to focus on what I see as too many shows that seek to shock and and Mr. HATCH) submitted the follow- some truly positive developments on titillate, that add to the degradation of ing resolution; which was referred to this front, and to give praise to the tel- the Committee on Commerce, Science, our culture and fuel the ‘‘anything- evision industry where praise is due. goes’’ mentality that I believe is at the and Transportation: Over the last 18 months, we have seen S. RES. 290 root of the moral decline America is industry leaders embrace the V-chip, experiencing today. Expressing the sense of the Senate that the which I was proud to cosponsor along major broadcast television networks should A survey released by the American with my colleague from North Dakota, Medical Association this week left lit- revive their traditional ‘‘Family Hour’’ and Senator CONRAD, and accept our chal- voluntarily reserve the first hour of prime tle doubt that the public remains high- lenge to create a self-enforced ratings ly concerned, showing that 75 percent time broadcasting for family-oriented pro- gramming. system that will give parents more in- of parents are ‘‘disgusted with media Whereas the major broadcast television formation about the programs coming violence.’’ In response, the AMA took networks once adhered to a voluntary, self- into their homes. We have seen the na- the significant step of sending out enforced practice of setting aside the first tion’s broadcasters acknowledge their guidelines to 60,000 doctors nationwide hour of prime time for programming suitable obligation to promote more edu- to help educate them and the parents for audiences of all ages, especially young cational shows for children, and com- children; mit to airing every week at least 3 they serve about the negative effects of Whereas the major networks have recently hours of programming that will enrich media violence on children. abandoned this practice and chosen to fill But I firmly believe that television is young minds and promote positive val- this hour with programs laden with sexually making progress. I also believe that suggestive language and behavior and ma- ues. And perhaps most encouraging of all, many of the people who run the tele- ture themes; vision industry want us to know that Whereas according to the most recent we have seen—quite literally seen— some modest yet significant changes in they’re not walking away from the re- Nielsen ratings, approximately 9,000,000 chil- the quality of the product flowing over sponsibility that goes along with their dren between the ages of 2 and 11 watch tele- vision during an average minute between 8:00 the airwaves. The deluge of perversity enormous power and influence. So as p.m. and 9:00 p.m. e.s.t; and degradation coming out of the we continue to give voice to the Whereas the clear majority of American trash talk TV shows has receded, and public’s discontent, it is also important parents are concerned about the negative in- Rosie O’Donnell has shown with her to encourage the responsiveness indus- fluence of television on younger viewers, who try leaders have already shown, albeit watch on average 21 hours of television a quick wit and engaging personality that clean talk can clean up in the rat- sometimes grudgingly, and to encour- week; age them to keep moving forward. Whereas that concern was recently dem- ings. Also, in response to the deep con- cern the American people have ex- That is why I am joining with 10 of onstrated again in a poll conducted by U.S. News & World Report which found that 76 pressed about the damage done by tele- my colleagues today to submit what we percent of Americans believe that television vised violence, the major broadcast see as a very positive sense-of-the-Sen- contributes to the problem of teenage preg- networks have made a real effort to re- ate resolution, one that expresses our nancy, 83 percent believe that television con- duce the number of graphic killings, support for the direction the television tributes to casual sex, 90 percent believe that assaults and rapes depicted during industry seems to be moving in. Quite television contributes to teenagers having simply, this resolution asks the major sex too soon, and 92 percent believe that tel- prime time, and it has made a notice- able difference. broadcast networks to help parents do evision contributes to violence on our And, in terms of the new fall season, their jobs by bringing back what was streets; Whereas the Senate is comprised of elected the reviews I’ve read indicate that once known as the ‘‘Family Hour’’. It representatives who have a responsibility to many of the shows premiering in the urges the networks to once again set give voice to the concerns of their constitu- next few days turn away from the aside the first hour of prime-time for ents; and smuttiness that characterized so many programs that I can watch together Whereas the Senate expresses public senti- of the sitcoms that debuted last year with my wife and our 8-year-old daugh- ment in this resolution, and does not at- and offended and disgusted so many ter without fearing that I will be em- tempt to establish by law or otherwise man- barrassed or my values will be as- date or dictate any requirements regarding viewers. Even more promising, the net- works seem more willing to take a saulted. the content of television programming: Now, therefore, be it chance on family-oriented shows that In recent years, that is something Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate seek to uplift as they entertain and to that most parents have been legiti- that the major broadcast television net- reinforce rather than tear down our mately fearful of. One of the most com- works should renew their commitment to common values. Programs such as mon complaints we hear about tele- voluntarily reserving the first hour of prime ‘‘Second Noah,’’ which ABC chose to vision concerns the proliferation of time for programming suitable for members bring back this fall, and ‘‘Touched By lewd jokes and gratuitous sex scenes in of American families of all ages. the early hours of prime-time, when an Angel,’’ which CBS stuck by when it Mr. LIEBERMAN. Mr. President, I struggled to gain an audience and is many young children are watching. rise today to continue a dialog on an now one of the networks prized assets. Many parents feel that this kind of issue that many Americans, especially I think it’s worth noting to my col- content goes far beyond being inappro- millions of parents, care deeply about: leagues that the producer of ‘‘Touched priate and offensive. They believe, as the profound and often harmful influ- by An Angel,’’ Martha Williamson, will do we, that these messages are harmful ence that television is having on our be honored at reception in the Capitol to their children’s development and un- children and our country. tonight for her commitment to creat- dercut the fundamental values that As my colleagues know, the public’s ing entertainment that elevates us and parents are trying to instill in their increasing anger about the pervasive appeals to our better rather than our families. presence of sex, violence, and vulgarity baser natures. I am proud to be co- Our resolution asks the networks to on the small screen has resulted in hosting this reception, at which Ms. recognize the difficulties parents face widespread criticism of the television Williamson will premiere her new se- in shielding their children from this industry. I believe that much of that ries, ‘‘Promised Land,’’ also on CBS kind of content, and to help meet them criticism has been warranted. Just this fall, and I would encourage Mem- halfway. In effect, it asks them to do about a year ago this week I came to bers to attend. no more than to return to a practice the floor to take the major networks to Mr. President, by calling attention to they once adhered to willingly. This is task for sponsoring what was widely these positive signs I do not mean to a case where the networks for long S10430 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — SENATE September 12, 1996 time acted quite responsibly and did a KENNEDY AMENDMENT NO. 5259 At the appropriate place, insert the follow- public service by creating a safe haven ing new title: (Ordered to lie on the table.) for parents with young children. That TITLE —PROTECTION OF PATIENT Mr. KENNEDY submitted an amend- COMMUNICATIONS is one rerun that most American fami- ment intended to be proposed by him lies want desperately to see again. SEC. 01. SHORT TITLE; FINDINGS. to the bill, H.R. 3756, surpa; as follows: (a) SHORT TITLE.—This title may be cited We do not want to pass any law or At the appropriate place, add the following as the ‘‘Patient Communications Protection dictate what programs can or can’t be new section: Act of 1996’’. shown during the 8 o’clock hour. We SEC. . (a) None of the funds appropriated (b) FINDINGS.—Congress finds the follow- just want to reiterate to the people under Federal law for fiscal year 1997 to the ing: who run the networks that this an Legal Services Corporation shall be expended (1) Patients need access to all relevant in- issue of grave concern to American for any purpose prohibited or limited by, or formation to make appropriate decisions, contrary to, any of the provisions of section with their physicians, about their health families, and that the family hour is a care. 504 of Public Law 104–134 (110 Stat. 1321–53), reasonable, commonsense concept that and all funds appropriated under Federal law (2) Restrictions on the ability of physicians has overwhelming support. A compan- for fiscal year 1997 to the Legal Services Cor- to provide full disclosure of all relevant in- ion resolution in the House has at- poration shall be subject to the same terms formation to patients making health care tracted 97 cosponsors, and 20 Senators and conditions set forth in such section, ex- decisions violate the principles of informed have already endorsed the family hour cept as provided in subsection (b) or as oth- consent and practitioner ethical standards. (3) The offering and operation of health movement, having signed a petition we erwise provided in Federal law. plans affect commerce among the States. sent to the network presidents in (b) Notwithstanding subsection (a), sub- Health care providers located in one State April. section (a)(11) of such section 504 shall not be serve patients who reside in other States as construed to prohibit a recipient from using Mr. President, the resonance of this funds derived from a source other than the well as that State. In order to provide for issue was confirmed to me by a con- uniform treatment of health care providers Corporation to provide related legal assist- and patients among the States, it is nec- versation I had with a leading network ance to— essary to cover health plans operating in one executive last year. He confided in me (1) an alien who has been battered or sub- State as well as those operating among the that he regrets not being able to sit jected to extreme cruelty in the United several States. down with his children and watch tele- States by— SEC. 02. PROHIBITION OF INTERFERENCE WITH vision together as a family, much as he (A)(i) a spouse or parent of the alien; or CERTAIN MEDICAL COMMUNICA- (ii) a member of the spouse’s or parent’s TIONS. did with his parents years ago, much as family residing in the same household as the I did with my parents when I was (a) IN GENERAL.— alien (in a case in which the spouse or par- (1) PROHIBITION OF CERTAIN PROVISIONS.— young. This is one of the great joys of ent, respectively, consented or acquiesced to Subject to paragraph (2), an entity offering a the medium, and it is disappointing to such battery or cruelty); or health plan (as defined in subsection (d)(2)) many parents today that they cannot (B) any other person with whom the alien may not include any provision that prohibits share in it with their children. has a relationship covered by the domestic or restricts any medical communication (as It doesn’t have to be that way, as violence laws of the State in which the alien defined in subsection (b)) as part of— resides or in which an incident of the battery (A) a written contract or agreement with a CBS Entertainment has made clear or cruelty took place; or health care provider, this fall, when its president pledged (2)(A) an alien whose child has been bat- (B) a written statement to such a provider, publicly that CBS would only air pro- tered or subjected to extreme cruelty in the or grams at 8 o’clock that the whole fam- United States by a spouse or parent of the (C) an oral communication to such a pro- ily could watch together. Congress can alien (in a case in which the alien did not ac- vider. tively participate in the battery or cruelty); ‘‘(2) CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing in this sec- help by adopting this resolution and tion shall be construed as preventing an en- encouraging—encouraging, not forc- or (B) a member of the spouse’s or parent’s tity from exercising mutually agreed upon ing—the television industry to follow terms and conditions not inconsistent with family residing in the same household as the CBS’s lead and help restore the peace alien (in a case in which the spouse or par- paragraph (1), including terms or conditions of mind that so many families are requiring a physician to participate in, and ent, respectively, consented or acquiesced to seeking. Along with my original co- cooperate with, all programs, policies, and such battery or cruelty and the alien did not sponsors, Senators HUTCHISON, NUNN, procedures developed or operated by the per- actively participate in the battery or cru- son, corporation, partnership, association, or and DEWINE, I strongly urge my col- elty). other organization to ensure, review, or im- leagues on both sides of the aisle to (c) Subsection (b) shall apply, notwith- prove the quality of health care. support it, to make a strong statement standing the enactment of Federal law after (3) NULLIFICATION.—Any provision de- on behalf of America’s families, and I the date of enactment of this Act, unless scribed in paragraph (1) is null and void. such law explicitly excludes such application (b) MEDICAL COMMUNICATION DEFINED.—In look forward to its adoption. by reference to this section. this section, the term ‘‘medical communica- (d) As used in this section: tion’’ means a communication made by a (1) The term ‘‘battered or subjected to ex- health care provider with a patient of the AMENDMENTS SUBMITTED treme cruelty’’ has the meaning given the provider (or the guardian or legal representa- term ‘‘was battered by or was the subject of tive of such patient) with respect to the pa- extreme cruelty’’ under regulations issued tient’s physical or mental condition or treat- THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT pursuant to section 204 of the Immigration ment options. APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 1997 and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1154) (as (e) ENFORCEMENT THROUGH IMPOSITION OF amended by subtitle G of the Violence CIVIL MONEY PENALTY— Against Women Act of 1994 (Pub. L. 103–322; (1) IN GENERAL.—Any entity that violates 108 Stat. 1953)). paragraph (1) of subsection (a) shall be sub- BYRD AMENDMENT NO. 5258 (2) The terms ‘‘legal assistance’’ and ‘‘re- ject to a civil money penalty of up to $25,000 (Ordered to lie on the table.) cipient’’ have the meanings given the terms for each violation. No such penalty shall be Mr. BYRD submitted an amendment in section 1002 of the Legal Services Corpora- imposed solely on the basis of an oral com- intended to be proposed by him to the tion Act (42 U.S.C. 2996a). munication unless the communication is (3) The term ‘‘related legal assistance’’ part of a pattern or practice of such commu- bill (H.R. 3756) making appropriations means legal assistance directly related to nications and the violation is demonstrated for the Treasury Department, the Unit- the prevention of, or obtaining of relief from, by a preponderance of the evidence. ed States Postal Service, the Executive the battery or cruelty described in sub- (2) PROCEDURES.—The provisions of sub- Office of the President, and certain section (a). sections (c) through (l) of section 112SA of independent agencies, for the fiscal the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320a–7a) year ending September 30, 1997, and for shall apply to civil money penalties under WYDEN (AND KENNEDY) paragraph (1) in the same manner as they other purposes; as follows: AMENDMENT NO. 5260 apply to a penalty or proceeding under sec- On page 49, line 18, insert before the colon (Ordered to lie on the table.) tion 1128A(a) of such Act. ‘‘: Provided, That of such amount provided (d) DEFINITIONS.—For purposes of this sec- Mr. WYDEN (for himself, Mr. KEN- for non-prospectus construction projects tion: $250,000 shall be available until expended for NEDY, and Mr. KYL) submitted an (1) HEALTH CARE PROVIDER.—The term the acquisition, lease, construction, and amendment intended to be proposed by ‘‘health care provider’’ means anyone li- equipping of flexiplace work telecommuting them to the bill, H.R. 3756, supra; as censed or certified under State law to pro- centers in the State of West Virginia’’. follows: vide health care services.
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