Bush Allows Children's-TV Bill To Become Law
Washington--Legislation limitL$ing the amount of commercials dur0 ing children's television programL$ing and prodding stations to L$provide more educational fare beL0 came law last week after President 0 Bush decided not to veto it.$
Although he expressed concerns 0 about whether certain of the bill's 0 provisions infringed on broadcastL0 ers' First Amendment rights, the L0 President allowed the measure to L0 become law without his signature.$ "In an effort to improve children's 0 television, this legislation imposes 0 content-based restrictions on proL$gramming," the President said in a 0 written statement. "The First L$Amendment, however, does not con0 template that government will dic0 tate the quality or quantity of what 0 Americans should hear--rather, it 0 leaves this to be decided by free me0 dia responding to the free choices of 0 individual consumers."0
Some political analysts here spec4ulated that Mr. Bush did not want to
The President had 10 days after its 0 final passage to take action on the bill 0 or else it would become law. Thus, the 0 bill went into effect Oct. 18.
The measure limits the amount of 0 advertising during children's proL$gramming to 10.5 minutes per hour 0 on weekends and 12 minutes per L0 hour on weekdays.
Some stations have been found to 0 broadcast up to 14 minutes of com0 mercials during children's proL$grams. But Peggy Charren, presi0 dent of the advocacy group Action 0 for Children's Television, said most 0 stations already fall within the lim
"It is is really a status-quo cap," 0 she said. "There are only a few L0 greedy stations going beyond the L0 limits in the bill."$
Even so, Ms. Charren, who has 0 lobbied many years for passage of a 0 children's-television bill, was ecstat0 ic that Mr. Bush allowed the current 0 measure to become law. President 0 Reagan pocket-vetoed a similar bill 0 in 1988.$5
Ms. Charren said the act's most promising provision is the one that directs the Federal Communications Commission to consider a station's efforts to serve the educational and informational needs of children as a condition of license renewal.$8
Ms. Charren said she hopes that through public scrutiny of stations' stated educational efforts, broadL$ casters will feel pressure to provide more and better educational proL gramming.--mw0