The House Administration Committee has passed campaign reform legislation that requires broadcasters to sell advertising time to political candidates at the “lowest unit rate.”

Politicians could begin taking advantage of a broadcaster’s lowest unit ad rate 45 days before a general election and 30 days before a primary.

The bill, which was forwarded to the full House of Representatives, would provide for communications vouchers to candidates who agree to limit spending during a campaign. Broadcasters would be able to redeem the vouchers for cash at a bank or savings and loan.

National Assn. of Broadcasters prez Eddie Fritts called the House bill a “huge step forward” compared to much tougher Senate campaign finance legislation. “Virtually all of the most onerous provisions for broadcasters have been removed,” Fritts said.

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