A House version of the “Local News and Emergency Information Act of 2020” was introduced May 15 by Chairman David Cicilline (D-RI) and Ranking Member F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI). The bill offers legislative text around a Small Business Administration (SBA) affiliation waiver that would allow more news publishers to apply for SBA loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
The bill is identical to the bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate last Wednesday by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), John Boozman (R-AR), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Both bills include an affiliation waiver that would allow news publishers to apply for PPP loans as individual, independent entities, despite ownership by companies with other small news publishers or non-news businesses, allowing more publishers to qualify for the loans.
The News Media Alliance put out this statement: “The Alliance is extremely grateful to Chairman Cicilline and Ranking Member Sensenbrenner for their enduring support of high-quality, local journalism and for their leadership in gathering bipartisan support for an SBA affiliation waiver for news publishers. These SBA loans, which will allow news publishers to continue bringing critical news and information to their local communities, are more critical than ever, as news publishers face extreme challenges from the coronavirus pandemic.”