Daines’ Bipartisan Bill to Stop Pirate Broadcasters Heads to the President’s Desk

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today announced that his bipartisan Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement (PIRATE) Act passed through both chambers of Congress with overwhelming support and is headed to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“This is great news for Montana local radio and rural broadcasters,” Daines said. “My bipartisan bill protects law abiding broadcasters and ensures their voices can be heard across Montana, free from the disruption and interference of illegal pirate broadcasters.”

Daines’ legislation:

  • Gives teeth to existing Federal Communications Commission (FCC) action to reduce pirate radio broadcasters.
  • Defines Pirate Radio broadcasting as unlicensed transmission in the AM/FM frequencies
  • Allows for enforcement sweeps, creates a database and reporting requirements, and sets a fine of not more than $100,000 per day with a maximum fine of $2 Million.  

To read the full bill, click HERE

Statements of Support:

“I am incredibly grateful to Senator Daines for his leadership in introducing the PIRATE Act to combat pirate radio and working hard to ensure its passage.  I also applaud Chairman Wicker and Ranking Member Cantwell and the bipartisan group of Senators who contributed to making passage of the legislation possible.  The Commission has taken enforcement action against illegal broadcasters, and will continue to do so, but we need more tools at our disposal to eliminate these rogue actors and protect local broadcasters and the listening public.  The PIRATE Act will help us do just that.” – Michael O’Reilly, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission

“NAB applauds Senate passage of the Pirate Act, and we thank Sens. Daines (R-MT) and Peters (D-MI) and Reps. Tonko (D-NY) and Bilirakis (R-FL) for their leadership on this issue. Broadcasters also appreciate the support of Chairmen Wicker (R-MS) and Pallone (D-NJ), and Ranking Members Cantwell (D-WA) and Walden (R-OR) to ensure Senate and House approval of this important bill. This legislation provides stronger resources to help the FCC combat illegal pirate radio operations, which not only interfere with licensed radio stations but also public safety communications and air traffic control systems. We look forward to the President signing the Pirate Act into law.” – Gordon Smith, President and CEO, National Association of Broadcasters  

“The Montana Broadcasters Association and Montana broadcasters thank Senator Daines for his leadership for getting this important bill passed.” – Dewey Bruce, President and CEO, Montana Broadcaster Association

“iHeartMedia applauds the passage of the Pirate Act, which will give the Federal Communications Commission the much needed tools to combat and reverse the growing problem of illegal pirate radio stations on our nation’s airwaves.” – Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO, iHeartMedia


  • On April 29th, 2019, Daines introduced S.1228, the PIRATE Act with Senator Peters (D-MI).
  • On May 15th, 2019, The PIRATE Act Passed the Senate Commerce Committee by voice vote.
  • Identical legislation (H.R.583) was introduced in the U.S. House in early 2019.