An Academy member meets with Congressman Doug Collins (R-Ga.) in his district office.
Photo: Moses R.
Welcoming Music Champions Returning To Congress In 2019
"If we ever get to the point in our society where we take away the creative spark, we have failed the soul and heartbeat of music, of books, of our creative output as Americans."— Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Conversations In Advocacy #43
The 115th Congress is still in session for a few more weeks but with the midterm elections behind us, we look forward to the start of the 116th Congress in January. While the make-up of the next Congress will be decidedly different looking, it will bring back many familiar faces who supported music and its makers this past Congress, and proved instrumental in last month’s historic signing of the Music Modernization Act.
Notably, every member of the Recording Arts and Sciences Congressional Caucus who appeared on Tuesday’s ballot won re-election to the House of Representatives and will have the opportunity to continue to support music creators in Washington. In addition, many music champions will move into elevated roles come January. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), author of this week's quote while being honored at the 2018 GRAMMYs on the Hill earlier this year, is in line to become Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, where past GRAMMYs on the Hill honoree Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) is expected to assume the duties of chairman as the Democrats gained the majority.
While the Judiciary Committee is expected to take on a number of high profile agenda items, Nadler and Collins have proven time and time that they will prioritize copyright and creators’ rights. Their work side by side this year on the MMA bodes well for the Committee’s ability to continue working in a bipartisan fashion to protect our society's "creative spark" when the next Congressional session begins.
And even with the enactment of the Music Modernization Act, work will continue within the Judiciary Committee to advance creators’ rights. On Oct. 24, at our 2018 District Advocate Day, the Recording Academy’s members pushed forward a legislative agenda inclusive of a number of issues that could cross the committee’s purview. More than 1,500 Recording Academy members met with both lawmakers and candidates to discuss Judiciary issues like terrestrial radio royalty payments, copyright office modernization and the establishment of a copyright small claims system.
Beyond the Judiciary Committee, other prominent music champions will also be in position to affect change for music makers. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), co-chairs of the Recording Arts and Sciences Congressional Caucus, have both declared their intentions to run for their respective party's leader races. Other allies like Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) are in consideration for Speaker of the House, Majority Whip and Democratic Caucus Chair, respectively. While it's too soon to be sure who will occupy leadership roles in the 116th Congress, once again music stands out as an area where leaders can work together as colleagues on issues of shared concern.
And that’s important because the fight will continue to protect funding for the National Endowment of the Arts and music education programs in the federal budget, and negotiations on trade deals will merit increased attention. All of these issues were discussed last month during District Advocate Day, and will be at the forefront of the Recording Academy’s agenda entering into the 116th Congress.
Congratulations are in order for lawmakers returning and new as the 116th Congress continues to take shape.
"Conversations in Advocacy" is your weekend digital tip sheet on music advocacy and the policies that affect music makers and their craft. New installments post every Friday.