|House and Senate to
Consider Anti Terrorism Bills
|10/8. Monday, October 8, was Columbus Day. Neither the House
nor the Senate were in session. On Tuesday, October 9, the
House may take up a number of non controversial and non
technology related bills and resolutions under suspension of
the rules. Then, on Wednesday, the House may take up its
version of the anti terrorism bill. The House bill, HR 2975,
is titled the PATRIOT Act. (See, HTML
version in the Library of Congress web site, and PDF
version in the CDT web
site. However, both of these versions lack the amendments
adopted by the House
Judiciary Committee on October 3.)
The Senate may take up S
1447, the Aviation Safety Act, on Tuesday. The full Senate
is also likely to take up its version of the anti terrorism
bill this week. The Senate bill, S 1510, is titled the USA
Act. (See, HTML
version in the Library of Congress web site, and PDF version in Sen. Patrick Leahy's
(D-VT) web site. See also, Sen. Leahy's summary
[PDF] of the bill.) This bill is likely to be passed by the
Senate without a mark up by the Senate Judiciary
Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Leahy.
Both bills contain a wide range of provisions intended to
increase the ability of law enforcement, intelligence, and
other government agencies to combat terrorism, including
expanded authority to conduct electronic surveillance of phone
and Internet communications. Both bills also enjoy broad
bipartisan support as a result of new threats posed by
Legislators in both houses removed or modified some of the
provisions contained in the Bush Administration's original
proposal, on civil liberties grounds. However, some groups
which advocate civil liberties still oppose the bill. See for
|Sen. Enzi Advocates Export
|10/4. Sen. Mike Enzi
(R-WY) gave the keynote
address at a Bureau
of Export Administration (BXA) conference on export
controls in Washington DC. He stated that the attacks of
September 11 have "only further highlighted the
importance of strong export controls." He also advocated
passage of S
149, the Export Administration Act of 2001, of which he is
the lead sponsor. He said that the "2001 EAA is a
comprehensive package that balances both national security and
the need for open, fair trade laws."
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 Bush
Administration has endorsed it. The Senate passed it by a vote
of 85 to 14, five days before the terrorist attacks, over the
opposition of a small group of Senators who assert that it
would harm national security. The House
International Relations Committee passed a much different
version just before the August recess.
Sen. Enzi stated that "the bill recognizes that the U.S.
is rarely the only producer of militarily useful high tech
products, and items available from foreign sources or
available in mass market quantities cannot be effectively
He also addressed high performance computers. He stated that
"the 2001 EAA greatly enhances the President's ability to
respond to rapidly changing technology. Specifically, the bill
repeals a provision in the Fiscal Year 1998 National Defense
Authorization Act, which locked into statute a metric for
measuring the performance of computers. Congress should not be
in the business of locking technological measurement into law.
The Senate's measured pace of legislation cannot keep pace
with changes in technology."
|Gov. Davis Signs AB 821
| 10/8. California Gov. Gray Davis signed Assembly
Bill 821, sponsored by Assembly
Member Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto). The bill specifies how
funds in the High Technology Theft Apprehension and
Prosecution Program Trust Fund can be expended. It also adds a
representative to the High Technology Crime Advisory
|Depreciation of High Tech
|10/5. Rep. Wes
Watkins (R-OK) introduced HR
3057, a bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code to reduce
to 3 years the depreciation recovery period for qualified
technological equipment. The bill would provide this 3 year
depreciation period for "wireless telecommunications
equipment", "advanced services equipment", and
"network or network system equipment". Advanced
services equipment is defined as that "used in the
provision of Internet or electronic communications access
services or support, or which supports access to electronic
media and data and associated communications support".
The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means
Committee. Rep. Watkins is a member.
Meanwhile, on October 2, Rep.
Fred Upton (R-MI), and others, introduced HR
2981, another bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code.
Like the Watkins bill, it would provide a short depreciation
period for qualified technological equipment; however, it
would set a 2 year recovery period. The Upton bill also
contains two provisions that are not in the Watkins bill: a 24
month useful life for depreciation of computer software, and a
7 year useful life for depreciation of certain spectrum
The Upton bill was referred to the House Ways and Means
Committee. Rep. Upton is the Chairman of the House Commerce Committee's
Telecom and Internet Subcommittee. He is not on the W&M
Committee. However, as of October 5, his bill had 54
cosponsors. Rep. Jennifer
Dunn (R-WA), whose Seattle area district includes many
Microsoft employees, is both a co-sponsor, and a member of the
In addition, Rep. Jerry
Weller (R-IL), another member of the W&M Committee,
has long advocated depreciation reform for computer equipment.
On April 5 he and Rep.
Richard Neal (D-MA) introduced HR
1411, the Expensing Technology Reform Act of 2001. The
bill would reform the Internal Revenue Code by updating the
existing depreciation schedules for high tech assets.
Rep. Weller explained the bill in a statement
in the Congressional Record. "Currently, businesses must
depreciate much of their high tech equipment over a 5 year
period. This bill would allow businesses to expense these
assets. The 5 year depreciation lifetime for tax purposes is
outdated since many companies today must update their
computers as quickly as every 14 months in order to stay
technologically current. We allow businesses to expense their
computers, peripheral equipment, servers, networks, wireless
telecommunications equipment, software, high tech medical
equipment and copiers in this bill."
|10/1. Harrold Barron joined the Chicago office of the
law firm of McDermott, Will
& Emery as counsel in the firm's Corporate Department.
Previously, he worked at Unisys,
most recently as Vice Chairman, and before that, as SVP and
General Counsel. See, release.
10/5. The partners of Morrison
& Hecker and the shareholders of Stinson Mag & Fizzell
announced that they approved the basic framework for a
potential merger agreement between the firms. Stinson Mag
& Fizzell has 152 lawyers in Kansas City, St. Louis and
Omaha. Morrison & Hecker has 180 attorneys in Kansas City,
Phoenix, Washington DC and Wichita, Kansas. See, release.
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|Tuesday, Oct 9
|2:30 PM. The Senate
Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination
of John Marburger to be Director of the Office of
Science and Technology Policy, and the nomination of Phillip
Bond to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Technology.
Location: Room 253, Russell Building.
5:00 PM. The House
Ways and Means Committee will meet to mark up HR
3005 [PDF], the "Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority
Act of 2001." Location: Room 1100, Longworth Building.
Day two of a two day seminar offered by the FCBA on
communications law. See, agenda [PDF].
University Law Center, 600 New Jersey Avenue, NW,
Deadline to file reply comments with the FCC in its
third inquiry into whether advanced telecommunications
capability is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable
and timely fashion, pursuant to Section
706 of the Telecom Act of 1996. This notice of inquiry was
adopted by the FCC at its August 9, 2001, meeting. See, Aug.
9 FCC release. See also, notice
in Federal Register, August 24, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 165, at
Page 44636. (CC Docket No. 98-146.)
|Wednesday, Oct 10
AM - 3:30 PM. The Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) will hold a Public Forum
and Technology Expo on telecommunications relay services (TRS).
Location: Commission Meeting Room, Room TW-C305 and adjacent
rooms, 445 12th St., SW, Washington DC. See, FCC
notice and agenda [MS Word]. See also, notice
in Federal Register.
10:00 AM. The Senate
Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Administrative
Oversight and the Courts will hold a hearing to examine new
priorities and challenges for the FBI. Location: Room 226,
10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The House Science Committee
will hold a hearing titled "Cyber Security – How Can We
Protect American Computer Networks From Attack?"
Location: 2318 Rayburn Building.
The Supreme Court of
the United States will hear oral argument in Verizon v.
FCC (00-511), WorldCom v. Verizon (00-555), FCC v. Iowa
Utilities Board (00-587), AT&T v. Iowa Utilities Board
(00-590), and General Communications v. Iowa Utilities Board
12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM. The Federal
Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) International
Practice Committee will host a brown bag lunch titled
"Survey of Issues Facing the International Bureau."
The speaker will be Donald Abelson, Chief of the FCC's
2:00 PM. FCC Chairman Michael Powell will hold an informal
press conference with reporters who cover the FCC. Location:
FCC Meeting Room, 12th Street Level, 445 12th Street SW,
|Thursday, Oct 11
|9:30 AM. The FCC will hold a meeting. FCC's meeting
agenda. Location: Commission Meeting Room, FCC, 445 12th
Street, SW, Room TWC305, Washington DC.
9:30 AM. The House
Finance Committee will hold a meeting to mark up HR 3004,
the Financial Anti Terrorism Act of 2001. Location: Room 2128,
12:00 NOON. The FCBA will
host a luncheon titled "Competition in Japan's
Telecommunications Sector." The speaker will be Shogo
Itoda, Commissioner, Japan Fair Trade Commission. RSVP to DC
Bar Sections Office at 202-626-3463. The price is $25 for FCBA
members. Location: Arnold & Porter, Paul Porter Room, 10th
Floor, 555 12th Street, NW, Washington DC.
2:00 PM. The Senate
Judiciary Committee will hold hearings to examine homeland
defense matters. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.
6:00 - 8:00 PM. The Federal
Communications Bar Association (FCBA) will host a
reception featuring David Gross, Deputy Assistant
Secretary of State for Communications and Information Policy,
and Nancy Victory, head of the NTIA. The price of
admission is $35 for private sector members and $20 for
government or students. RSVP to Wendy Parish at email@example.com by Tuesday,
October 9, at 10:00 AM. Location: Capital Hilton Hotel, 16th
& K Streets, NW, Washington DC.
Deadline to submit comments to the FCC in its rule making
proceeding regarding locating spectrum bands below 3 Ghz for
possible reallocation for Third Generation (3G)
wireless services, and for other purposes. (ET Docket Nos.
00-258 and 95-18 and IB Docket No. 99-81.) See, notice
in Federal Register.
Deadline to submit comments to the FCC in its rule making
proceeding regarding permitting Mobile Satellite Service (MSS)
operators flexibility to use their spectrum for land based
transmitters. (IB Docket No. 01-185, ET Docket No. 95-18.)
in Federal Register.