Saturday, June 10, 2006

Priorities of Congress Revealed by Penalty Limits

Two items, when taken together, show the priorities of the present Congress. As noted in the blog Confined Spaces, Congress passed two increases of fines that may be levied by regulatory agencies.

In a reaction to the recent mine accidents that have killed 33 coal miners this year, Congress increased the maximum civil penalty for violations of safety regulations from $60,000 to $220,000.

Responding to Janet Jackson’s 2004 "wardrobe malfunction" at the Super Bowl and other incidences, Congress increased the maximum fine that the FCC may impose for indecent conduct from $32,500 to $325,000.

So a mine safety violation that may kill minors is now worth less that a breast exposure.

New York Times articles on the mine safety fine increase and on the indecent conduct fine increase.

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