THE BLOG
06/07/2006 10:55 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

On Indecency and the Obscene

Maximum proposed fine for broadcasting indecency, under the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act, expected to be passed by the House of Representatives today: $325,000.

Maximum fine for "serious" violations of occupational safety and health laws: $7,000. A "serious" violation is one where there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

Maximum fine for "willful" violations of occupational safety and health laws: $70,000. A "willful" violation occurs when "the employer intentionally and knowingly commits" a violation.

My colleague Russell Mokhiber and I wrote about this disparity a couple years back, when a different version of the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act was being trumpeted following the Janet Jackson Superbowl halftime incident.

We noted then that the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act (stronger in the older version than the one now under consideration, it appears) is good evidence that Congress can do effective regulation when it chooses.