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Latest Public Policy News


Major Tech Stocks Slump On Regulatory Fears After Senate Hearing

After top executives from Facebook and Twitter faced a grilling in the U.S. Senate and reckoned with potential government regulation, investors gave the cold shoulder to their stocks and most of the tech sector. Shares in Twitter, Snap and Facebook all declined significantly, dragging the Nasdaq down more than 1% to below the 8,000 level that prompted celebration barely a week ago. Major tech companies have been powering the ongoing bull market, leaving Wall Street with… Read


FCC Chairman Raises “Serious Concerns” About Sinclair-Tribune Merger

Sinclair Broadcasting

UPDATED to include background and comment: FCC chairman Ajit Pai issued a statement today raising “serious concerns” about Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media. At issue are Sinclair’s plans to divest some stations to meet ownership limits in a way that would allow Sinclair to retain control of them “in practice, if not in name, in violation of the law,” Pai noted. Pai said he had asked fellow commissioners to vote to send the deal… Read


‘Fixer Upper’ Couple Chip & Joanna Gaines Reach $40,000 EPA Settlement For Lead-Based Paint Violations

Fixer Upper

Chip and Joanna Gaines, HGTV’s husband-wife Fixer Upper team, have agreed to pay a $40,000 fine by the EPA for the improper use of lead-based paint in their renovations. The couple, who do business as Magnolia Homes, reached a settlement in a case that could have cost them $556,000 in fines. In a settlement “information sheet” posted on the EPA’s website (read it here), the agency notes that the “activities of Magnolia and similar renovation firms came to EPA's attention… Read


FCC Finally Sets Date For Net Neutrality Rollback

The FCC said its Restoring Internet Freedom Order, aka the rollback of President Obama-era net neutrality rules, will take effect June 11. Commissioners approved the order in December in a contentious, party-line vote. Opponents of the measure, including several leading tech companies and Democratic FCC commissioners, have expressed concern that the new stance will enable gatekeepers like Comcast and Verizon to create “Internet fast lanes.” Certain online content could be… Read


Michelle Obama Won’t Run For President, But Still Working Hard On Issues

There won’t be an Obama Act II in the White House. At least, not in the immediate future, as Michelle Obama related today at the 2018 United State of Women Summit at the Shrine Auditorum in Los Angeles. The two-day gathering featured panels, breakouts, exhibits and discussions focused on empowering women and helping to change the conditions that limit full social, economic and workplace opportunity for them. Obama’s well-received appearance capped the first conference day… Read


U.S. Trade Rep Finds Movie Piracy Remains “Rampant” Around The World

The "rampant” worldwide piracy of American films, music, TV shows, televised sporting events and books remains a "direct threat" to copyright holders, according the latest report from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, although some progress has been made to curb the practice in China, Russia and several other countries. "The increased availability of broadband Internet connections around the world, combined with increasingly accessible and sophisticated mobile… Read


KCETLink Rejoins PBS, Agrees To Merge With SoCal Flagship Outlet KOCE

KCETLink Media Group (KCET) and PBS SoCal (KOCE), the flagship PBS outlet for Southern California, have agreed to merge the companies. The name of the new organization will be announced with the closing of the merger, which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2018. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other unspecified but “customary” closing conditions, according to the announcement. The union unites outlets with a reach of 18 million… Read


‘March For Our Lives’ Gun Reform Rallies Take Over Media & World Stages

Today’s international March For Our Lives rallies are bringing speeches, live music and celebrity activism to more than 800 locations worldwide, spotlighted by massive media coverage that starts early this morning and continues through the evening. Billed as the young people’s response to the Parkland, Florida school shootings and a cry for further gun restrictions from legislators, the events have been assisted in the background by a sophisticated network of established… Read


‘March For Our Lives’ DC Rally Joined By Lin-Manuel Miranda And Ben Platt

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Media momentum is building for Saturday’s international March For Our Lives rallies, with coverage slated by at least four major media outlets and numerous online sites. Counting L.A., Washington D.C. and New York City, marches and rallies are being planned in 836 locations worldwide including Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Liverpool and Reykjavik, to name a few, according to the March For Our Lives website.  The event has received financial donations of at least… Read


L.A. Entertainment Employment Soars In New Media And Digital Management

Employment for a jobs category that includes promoters, agents and managers has spurred major employment growth in the Los Angeles entertainment industry, according to a new report. The Center for a Competitive Workforce issued the report on Friday. It claimed entertainment industry employment grew 19.6% from 2007 to 2016, far outstripping the four percent growth across all industries during the same period. The Center for a Competitive Workforce is a partnership between… Read


AT&T Chief On Time Warner: “We Remain Very Confident” In Deal Close

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson devoted precious few minutes of the company’s hour-long conference call with analysts to the pending legal battle with the government over the Time Warner acquisition. He noted the trial date of March 19 and reiterated the company’s upbeat view of its chances. “We remain very confident we will complete this merger,” he said. With the Time Warner drama put to the side and not explored in any of the analysts’ questions, the call about the company… Read