Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
August 2, 2001, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 240.
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Senate to Take Up Export Bill After Recess
8/1. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) said in the Senate that he anticipates that S 149, the Export Administration Act of 2001, sponsored by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) will be brought up on September 4, and if necessary, cloture will be filed September 7. The bill would modernize export control laws. It would ease restraints on most dual use products, such as computers and software, but increase penalties for violations. The Senate Banking Committee passed the bill in March with only one negative vote. The Bush administration supports it. The bill is opposed by a small group of Senators who assert that it would harm national security.
Sen. Enzi released a statement in which he said that "This bill has such strong bipartisan support, it's a shame that it has taken this long to work through. I'm confident we'll have the bill passed quickly. Quick passage of this bill is in fact what President Bush has called for. The country needs this bill to enhance both our security and economic interests."
New Bills
7/31. Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) and Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) introduced HR 2678, a bill to create an exchange program between the federal government and the private sector to develop expertise in information technology management. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Government Reform. See also, statement by Rep. Davis.
7/31. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced S 1273, which is titled the "Improving Health Care in Rural America Act.' It would amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for rural health services outreach, rural health network planning and implementation, and small health care provider quality improvement grant programs, and telehomecare demonstration projects. It was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
7/31. Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) introduced S 1283, a bill to establish a program for the delivery of mental health services by telehealth. It was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
More News
8/1. The House Education Committee amended and approved HR 1992, the Internet Equity and Education Act of 2001, sponsored by Rep. Johnny Isakson (R-GA). The bill would make it easier to obtain federal financial aid for web based education programs.
8/1. The Progressive Policy Institute, a Democratic think tank, released a report titled "Adopting P3P for Congressional Web Sites: A How-To Guide." It states that "By adopting P3P policies on their own web sites, Members send a signal to both commercial and government web site operators that P3P is here to stay, and that it is an important part of the debate on Internet privacy." The problem, write authors Shane Ham and Ari Schwartz, is a "chicken or egg" issue: "Web site operators will not go through the effort of adopting P3P if Internet users are not using P3P software. On the other hand, if no web sites are P3P compliant, Internet users will either ignore privacy warnings or disable the P3P function altogether."
8/1. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration's Spectrum Planning Subcommittee released its Federal Long-Range Spectrum Plan.
8/1. The FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) issued a release at 11:30 AM EDT on August 1 on the status of the Code Red worm. It stated: "Based on preliminary analysis, we expect a level of worm activity comparable to the July 19th Code Red infection, which resulted in infection of over 250,000 systems. It should achieve that level of activity by this afternoon."
Internet Tax Legislation
8/1. The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on whether to extend the existing Internet tax moratorium, and whether to allow state and local governments to impose sales taxes on remote sellers, including Internet retailers. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), Chairman of the Committee, said in his opening statement [PDF] that "I, frankly, have not made up my mind yet on what is the best way to proceed." The existing moratorium expires this fall. See also, opening statement [PDF] by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the ranking Republican.
See also, prepared statements in PDF by Tom Woodward (Congressional Budget Office), Frank Shafroth (National Governors Association), David Bullington (Wal-Mart), Frank Julian (Federated Department Stores), Michael Grieve (American Enterprise Institute), Steven Rauschenberger (National Conference of State Legislatures), and Jeff Friedman (KPMG).
8/1. The House Judiciary Committee's Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee scheduled a meeting to mark up either HR 1552 or HR 1675 at 2:00 PM on August 2. Both bills are titled the Internet Tax Nondiscrimination Act. Each would extend the current moratorium on multiple and discriminatory Internet taxes, and taxes on Internet access. The Subcommittee has not scheduled for mark up other bills pertaining to authorizing states to tax remote sellers, and business activity taxes.
People and Appointments
8/1. The Senate confirmed Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) to be Director of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
8/1. The Senate Banking Committee approved by voice votes the nominations of Michael Garcia to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement, Henrietta Fore to be Director of the Mint, and Linda Conlin to be an Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Trade Development.
8/1. President Bush nominated Paul McNulty to be U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, which includes tech heavy northern Virginia. He is a Deputy Associate Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice. Previously he was Chief Counsel and Director of Legislative Operations for House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX). Before that, McNulty held several posts at the House Judiciary Committee, including spokesman and Chief Counsel to the Subcommittee on Crime. And before that, he worked in the Justice Department during the administration of the elder Bush. He has also worked at the law firm of Shaw Pittman. See, WH release.
7/31. The Senate confirmed Zig Ziglar to be Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization.
8/1. The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on several pending nominations, including that of Nancy Victory to be head of the NTIA. She encountered no opposition or criticism. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) announced that the full Committee will vote on her nomination at its August 2 mark up meeting.
Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Trade
8/1. The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on trade issues. See, opening statement of Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-SC), the Chairman of the Committee, opening statement of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the ranking Republican, and opening statement of Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). See also, opening statements of witnesses: Donald Evans (Secretary of Commerce), Edward Luttwak (Center for Strategic and International Studies), and William Reinch (National Foreign Trade Council).
Thursday, August 2
10:30 AM. Reps. Richard Neal (D-MA), Tom Davis (R-VA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Jerry Weller (R-IL) will hold a press conference to announce the introduction of legislation to reform the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) treatment of Incentive Stock Options (ISOs). Location: House Triangle (outside of the east entrance of the House Chamber).
2:00 PM. The House Judiciary Committee's Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee will meet to mark up either HR 1552 or HR 1675, both titled the Internet Tax Nondiscrimination Act. Each would extend the current moratorium on multiple or discriminatory Internet taxes, and taxes on Internet access. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.
Friday, August 3
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM. Day one of a two day conference titled "6th Annual Independent Inventor's Conference." The conference its hosted by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Office of Independent Inventor Programs (OIIP). See, USPTO notice. Location: The DoubleTree Hotel, 300 Army Navy Drive, Arlington, Virginia.
9:30 AM. The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a business meeting. The agenda includes markup of several bills, and votes on pending nominations, including that of Nancy Victory to be head of the NTIA. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.
9:30 AM. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing for titled "How Secure is Sensitive Commerce Department Data and Operations? A Review of the Department's Computer Security Policies and Practices." The scheduled witnesses are: Robert Dacey (Director, Information Security Issues, GAO), Johnnie Frazier (Inspector General, Commerce Dept.), Samuel Bodman (Deputy Secretary, Commerce Dept.), Thomas Pyke (Acting CIO, Commerce Dept.). Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building.
Deadline to file comments with the FCC in its Notice of Inquiry (NOI) regarding video competition. On June 20, 2001 the FCC adopted a NOI into the status of competition in the market for the delivery of video programming. The FCC stated in a release that "The NOI seeks information that will allow the FCC to evaluate the status of competition in the video marketplace, prospects for new entrants to that market, and its effect on the cable television industry and consumers. The NOI also solicits information regarding the extent to which consumers have choices among video programming distributors and delivery technologies." Reply comments are due by September 5. See, CS Docket No. 01-129.
Wershba v. Apple
8/1. The California Court of Appeal (6th) issued its opinion [PDF] in Wershba v. Apple Computer, an appeal of the settlement of one of the three class action lawsuits brought against Apple Computer in connection with its withdrawal of free technical support in 1997. The Court of Appeal affirmed.
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