For the fourth time this year, members of Congress have approved a temporary extension of direct broadcast satellite (DBS) retransmission rights that were last authorized in 2004 under the Satellite Home Viewer Extension & Reauthorization Act (SHVERA). The SHVERA expired at the end of last year. By a vote of 59-38, Senate lawmakers last Thursday adopted the Continuing Extension Act (CEA) of 2010 (H.R. 4851), a measure adopted by the House last month that mandates extensions of unemployment and COBRA health insurance benefits. With the most recent temporary extension of the DBS compulsory license due to expire on April 30, Senate members added language to the CEA that provides a further extension of DBS retransmission rights through May 31. The amended bill was signed into law by President Obama on Thursday. Lawmakers, meanwhile, are continuing work on comprehensive satellite reauthorization legislation known as the Satellite Television Extension & Localism Act of 2010 (STELA). Among other things, STELA would (1) restore DISH Network’s right to offer distant broadcast network signals in exchange for the company’s commitment to expand local-into-local service to all television markets, (2) move up deadlines for satellite delivery of non-commercial broadcast signals in HD format, and (3) correct the problem of “phantom signals” that result in cable operators having to pay program carriage fees for subscribers who don’t receive those signals. To ensure compliance with Congressional “pay-go” rules, Senate members have adopted a version of STELA that extends DBS retransmission rights for ten years instead of five as proposed in previous bill versions. That bill awaits reconciliation with a second version of STELA, pending in the House, which calls for a five-year license term.