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Tuesday, May 15, 2012, Alert No. 2,383.
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Bill Would Ban Use of Federal Telemedicine Funds and Interstate Telecommunications in Connection with an Abortion

5/10. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and others introduced HR 5731 [LOC | WW], the "Telemedicine Safety Act", a bill to prohibit the use of federal funds for "telemedicine abortions", and to criminalize providing an interstate "telemedicine abortion".

This bill contains two provisions regarding federal funding. First, it states that "No funds made available under a telemedicine law ... may be used for telemedicine abortions or for assistance to facilities that offer telemedicine abortions".

Second, it states that "No equipment, infrastructure, or other items purchased using funds made available under a telemedicine law may be used for telemedicine abortions".

This bill defines "telemedicine law" to include, among other things, the statutory provision that serves as the basis for the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) universal service subsidies for health care providers for rural areas. This provision, which was enacted as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, is codified at 47 U.S.C. 254(h)(1)(A).

That is, if this bill were enacted, any facility receiving FCC rural health clinic subsidies, or other federal telemedicine funding, would be barred from performing an abortion.

The bill also contains a criminal prohibition of the use of interstate telecommunications in connection with an abortion. It would add a new Section 1824 to Title 18, the criminal code, that states that "Whoever knowingly provides a telemedicine abortion across State lines shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both."

The bill defines the term "telemedicine abortion", for both the federal funding provisions, and the criminal prohibition, as "the use by a health professional of telemedicine services to prescribe, dispense, procure, administer, or otherwise provide any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance, device, or method to terminate the life of an unborn child, or to terminate the pregnancy of a woman who is pregnant, without such health professional conducting an in-person medical examination of such woman during her current pregnancy, with an intention other than -- (A) to produce a live birth and preserve the life and health of the child after live birth; or (B) to remove an ectopic pregnancy, or to remove a dead unborn child who died as the result of a spontaneous abortion, accidental trauma, or a criminal assault on the pregnant female or her unborn child."

It also defines "telemedicine services" as "a telecommunications link to an end user through the use of equipment that electronically links patients and health professionals at separate sites in order to exchange health care information in audio, video, graphic, or other format for the purpose of providing health care services".

The bill has 47 original cosponsors representing both parties.

This bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee (HJC), House Commerce Committee (HJC), House Agriculture Committee (HAC), and House Natural Resources Committee (HNRC). Such multiple referrals provide multiple opportunities to block passage of a bill, and hence, diminish that likelihood of enactment.

Rep. Steve KingRep. King (at right), who is a member of the HJC and HAC, issued a release that states that "Telemed abortions involve dispensing powerful and dangerous abortion drugs, like RU-486, without a doctor present. The drug is administered after a brief video conference between the doctor and patient."

"Planned Parenthood's ulterior motives must be made known", said Rep. King. "Their aggressive promotion of the gruesome practice of abortion by video conference is expanding the destructive 'abortion on demand' culture in America -- all in the name of increased profits. Telemed abortions, without the overhead costs of a surgical abortion, allow Planned Parenthood to make even more money while preying on young women and violating FDA regulations. Eight percent of women who take the abortion drug known as RU-486 require surgical intervention to complete their abortion. This new practice leaves those women at grave risk, and should never be supported with taxpayer dollars. Telemed abortions threaten and endanger women and we should not allow Planned Parenthood to maximize their profits. We cannot let this practice continue."

Connecticut Representatives Again Introduce Telecommuter Tax Fairness Act

5/8. Rep. James Himes (D-CT) and Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced HR 5615 [LOC | WW], the "Telecommuter Tax Fairness Act of 2012".

This is a bill to limit abusive state taxation of the incomes of individuals who live out of state, but who use internet and computer technology to telework for a company in the tax imposing state.

This bill would amend Title 4 to provide that "In applying its income tax laws to the compensation of a nonresident individual, a State may deem such nonresident individual to be present in or working in such State for any period of time only if such nonresident individual is physically present in such State for such period and such State may not impose nonresident income taxes on such compensation with respect to any period of time when such nonresident individual is physically present in another State."

The bill further provides that "For purposes of determining physical presence, no State may deem a nonresident individual to be present in or working in such State on the grounds that -- (1) such nonresident individual is present at or working at home for convenience, or (2) such nonresident individual's work at home or office at home fails any convenience of the employer test or any similar test".

This bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee (HJC).

Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the companion bill in the Senate, S 1811 [LOC | WW], on November 7, 2011.

The state of New York aggressively taxes out of state teleworkers. Many of its targets reside in the state of Connecticut. Hence, for many years members of Connecticut's delegation have introduced similar bills. See, for example:

  • S 2785 (108th Congress), the "Telecommuter Tax Fairness Act of 2004".
  • S 1097 (109th Congress), the "Telecommuter Tax Fairness Act of 2005".
  • HR 2558 (109th Congress), the "Telecommuter Tax Fairness Act of 2005", sponsored by former Rep. Chris Shays (D-CT).
  • S 785 (110th Congress) [LOC | WW], the "Telecommuter Tax Fairness Act of 2007", sponsored by former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Sen. Lieberman.
  • HR 1360 (110th Congress) [LOC | WW], the "Telecommuter Tax Fairness Act of 2007", sponsored by former Rep. Shays.
  • HR 2600 (111th Congress) [LOC | WW], the "Telecommuter Tax Fairness Act of 2009", introduced by Rep. Himes on May 21, 2009.

See also, stories titled "Supreme Court Denies Cert in Challenge to State Income Tax on Out of State Teleworkers" and "Connecticut Legislators Seek End to New York's Taxation of Out of State Workers" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,244, November 1, 2005.

Republicans Introduce Bills to Prevent Agencies From Adopting Major Rules Under a Lame Duck President

4/25. Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI) and other House Republicans introduced HR 4607 [LOC | WW], the "Midnight Rule Relief Act of 2012", on April 24, 2012. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and other Senate Republicans introduced S 2368 [LOC | WW], the companion bill in the Senate, on April 25.

These bills would prevent federal agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), from proposing or finalizing any major rules between the Presidential election day, and inauguration day, unless the sitting President is re-elected.

These bills would provide that "an agency may not propose or finalize any midnight rule that the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of the Office of Management and Budget finds is likely to result in -- (1) an annual effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more; (2) a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic regions; or (3) significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of United States-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic and export markets."

Rep. Ribble stated in a release that these bills "will serve as a levee to protect job creators against a flood of new regulations imposed by officials with no accountability to the American public".

Rep. Ron JohnsonSen. Johnson (at right) stated in a release that "Significant regulatory actions should be proposed and put in place before Election Day. Too often, Presidents wait until after the voters have spoken to impose new and costly rules -- rules that the people ought to know about before going to the polls. This bill ensures that except for some specific circumstance, new major regulations will not be imposed once a President has become a lame duck."

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (HOGRC) approved HR 4607 on April 26, 2012, by voice vote. The bill was also referred to the House Judiciary Committee (HJC).

The original cosponsors include Rep. Lee Terry (R-IA), Vice Chairman of the House Commerce Committee's (HCC) Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

The full House passed HR 3309 [LOC | WW], the "Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2012", on March 27, 2012. That bill would affect FCC rulemaking. However, it would not affect rulemaking by the FCC under lame duck Presidents. It would impose additional requirements upon the FCC when it adopts rules with an "economically significant impact".

Moreover, the HR 3309 definition of "economically significant impact" mirrors HR 4607. HR 3309's definition is "an effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more annually or a material adverse effect on the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities".

See also, stories titled "House Passes FCC Process Reform Act" and "Summary of HR 3309 As Passed by the House" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,361, March 30, 2012.

The Senate bill has 35 sponsors. It was referred to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

If Mitt Romney were to defeat Barack Obama in the Presidential election in November, then Democratic appointees at many federal agencies would likely adopt rules that these bills are intended to block. Hence, these bills have the support of many Congressional Republicans, but not Congressional Democrats, and President Obama has incentives to veto these bills. In the next Congress, if Romney were elected President, Congressional Republicans would no longer have the same incentives to pass bills like these.

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In This Issue
This issue contains the following items:
  Bill Would Ban Use of Federal Telemedicine Funds and Interstate Telecommunications in Connection with an Abortion
  Connecticut Representatives Again Introduce Telecommuter Tax Fairness Act
  Republicans Introduce Bills to Prevent Agencies From Adopting Major Rules Under a Lame Duck President
Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Wednesday, May 16

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for morning hour, and at 12:00 NOON for legislative business. It is scheduled to consider HR 4970 [LOC | WW], the "Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012". See, Rep. Cantor's schedule for the week.

10:00 AM. The House Commerce Committee's (HCC) Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing titled "Broadband Loans and Grants". The witnesses will be Larry Strickling (head of the Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Telecommunications and Information Administration), Todd Zinser (DOC Inspector General), Jonathan Adelstein (head of the Department of Agriculture's (DOA) Rural Utility Service), and David Gray (DOA Deputy Inspector General). See, notice. Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building.

10:00 AM. The House Judiciary Committee (HJC) will hold a hearing titled "Implementation of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act". The witnesses will be David Kappos (head of the USPTO), Robert Armitage (SVP and General Counsel of Eli Lilly), Eliot Williams (Baker Botts, on behalf of the Financial Services Roundtable and other financial sector groups), Carl Horton (General Electric, on behalf of the Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform), Kevin Rhodes (3M, on behalf of the Intellectual Property Owners Association), Richard Brandon (University of Michigan, on behalf of the Association of American Universities), and Timothy Molino (Business Software Alliance). See, notice. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) will hold a hearing titled "Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation". The witness will be FBI Director Robert Mueller. The SJC will webcast this hearing. See, notice. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM. The American Association of Publishers (AAP) will host a web cast seminar titled "Digital Piracy Briefing". The speaker will be the AAP's Luisa Simpson. The topics to be covered include "Types of piracy specific to the publishing industry", "Issues surrounding monitoring and digital enforcement", "Technology solutions", "Government and industry enforcement efforts", and "Legislative developments". See, notice. The price is $29 for AAP members and $49 for others.

1:00 PM. The House Small Business Committee (HSBC) will hold a hearing titled "U.S. Trade Strategy: What's Next for Small Business Exporters?" The witnesses will include Miriam Sapiro (Office of the U.S. Trade Representative) and Mark Luden (on behalf of the Consumer Electronics Association). See, notice. Location: Room 2360, Rayburn Building.

2:00 PM. The House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) will hold a hearing titled "Increasing Market Access for U.S. Financial Firms in China: Update on Progress of the Strategic & Economic Dialogue". The witnesses will be Lael Brainard (Department of the Treasury), Rob Nichols (Engage China Coalition), David Strongin (Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association), Clay Lowery (Rock Creek Global Advisors), and Nicholas Lardy (Peterson Institute for International Economics). See, notice. Location: Room 2128, Rayburn Building.

2:30 PM. The Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) will hold a hearing titled "Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission". The witnesses will be the five FCC Commissioners: Julius Genachowski, Robert McDowell, Mignon Clyburn, Ajit Pai, and Jessica Rosenworcel. See, notice. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.

6:00 - 9:15 PM. The DC Bar Association will host a program titled "Copyright Law and Litigation". The speaker will be Kenneth Kaufman (Manatt Phelps). The price to attend ranges from $89 to $129. CLE credits. See, notice. For more information, call 202-626-3488. The DC Bar has a history of barring reporters from its events. Location: DC Bar Conference Center, 1101 K St., NW.

Thursday, May 17

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for morning hour, and at 12:00 NOON for legislative business. It will continue its consideration of HR 4310 [LOC | WW], the "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013". See, Rep. Cantor's schedule.

The Senate will meet at 9:30 AM. It will begin consideration of the motion to proceed to S 3187 [LOC | WW], the a bill to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act regarding generic drugs.

10:00 AM. The House Judiciary Committee's (HJC) Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security will hold a hearing titled "Geolocational Privacy and Surveillance Act". See, notice. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

10:00 AM. The House Intelligence Committee (HIC) will hold a business meeting. It will consider HR 5743 [LOC | WW], the "Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013", and a report titled "Performance Audit of Defense Intelligence Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR)." This meeting is open to the public. See, notice. Location: Room HVC-304, Capitol Visitor Center.

10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) will hold an executive business meeting. The agenda includes consideration of the nominations of David Medine, James Dempsey, Elisebeth Cook, Rachel Brand, and Patricia Wald to be member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. See, notice. The SJC will webcast this event. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

10:30 AM. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will be one of several speakers at an event regarding medical body area networks (MBANs), wireless patient monitoring systems. Location: George Washington University Hospital, Hospital Auditorium, Lower Level, 900 23rd St., NW.

11:00 AM. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) will hold a news conference regarding Facebook. Location: Room S-325, Senate Gallery Studio, Capitol Building.

12:15 - 1:45 PM. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will hold an event regarding the FCC's Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA), which evaluates the potential environmental effects of the FCC's Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) program, and the FCC's migratory birds proceeding (WT Docket No. 03-187). The speakers will be Jeffrey Steinberg, Deputy Chief of the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau's (WTB) Spectrum & Competition Policy Division (SCPD), and Aaron Goldschmidt, Assistant Chief of the FCC's WTB's SCPD. See also, the FCC's March 12, 2012, report titled "Final Programmatic Environmental Assessment for the Antenna Structure Registration Program". The FCBA states that this is a lunch hosted by its Wireless Telecommunications Committee. Location: Wiley Rein, 1776 K St., NW.

2:00 PM. The House Foreign Affairs Committee's (HFAC) Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade will hold a hearing titled "Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: Challenges and Potential". The witnesses will be Philip Levy (Columbia University), Linda Menghetti (Emergency Committee for American Trade), Celeste Drake (AFL-CIO), and Susan Schwab (University of Maryland). See, notice. Location: Room 2360, Rayburn Building.

2:00 - 4:00 PM. The Heritage Foundation (HF) will host an event titled "Challenging Convention in U.S.-Taiwan Relations". The speakers will be Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), Randy Schriver (Project 2049 Institute), Shirley Kan (Congressional Research Service), Kwei-bo Huang (Brookings Institute). See, notice. Location: HF, 214 Massachusetts Ave., NE.

Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry (NPRM and NOI) [84 pages in PDF] regarding use of MSS Spectrum for Terrestrial Broadband. The FCC adopted and released this item on March 21, 2012. It is FCC 12-32 in WT Docket No. 12-70, ET Docket No. 10-142, and WT Docket No. 04-356. See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 74, Tuesday, April 17, 2012, at Pages 22720-22748. See also, story titled "FCC Adopts NPRM Regarding Use of MSS Spectrum for Terrestrial Broadband" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,353, March 22, 2012.

Friday, May 18

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for morning hour, and at 12:00 NOON for legislative business. See, Rep. Cantor's schedule for the week.

12:15 - 1:45 PM. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will hold an event titled "Nuts and Bolts of Filing Transfer of Control Applications: Satellite Licenses and Radio/Television Licenses". The speakers will be David Brown (Associate Division Chief of the FCC's Media Bureau), Wayne McKee (Deputy Chief of the FCC's MB's Engineering Division), Karl Kensinger (Associate Division Chief of the FCC's International Bureau), and Kenneth Satten (Wilkinson Barker Knauer). The FCBA states that this is a brown bag lunch hosted by its Transactional Committee. Location: Hogan Lovells, 555 13th St., NW.

Deadline to submit comments to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection regarding its interim rules that implement the preferential tariff treatment and other customs related provisions of the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement. See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 53, Monday, March 19, 2012, at Pages 15943-15960.

Monday, May 21

The House will not meet on the week of Monday, May 21, through Friday, May 25. It will return on Wednesday, May 30.

2:00 - 3:15 PM. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host a panel discussion titled "US, China and Taiwan: Why the Triangle Might Get More Complex". The speakers will be Bonnie Glasser (Center for Strategic and International Studies), Gary Schmitt (AEI), Randy Schriver (Project 2049 Institute), and Michael Mazza (AEI). See, notice. Location: AEI, 12th floor, 1150 17th St., NW.

2:00 - 5:30 PM. The New America Foundation (NAF) will host an event regarding federal government funding of universities and research. It is titled "How to Save America's Knowledge Enterprise". See, notice and registration page. Location: NAF, Suite 400, 1899 L St., NW.

Tuesday, May 22

10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will host an event titled "Channel Sharing Worskshop". The speakers will be John Cunney (Santander), Eric De Silva (Wiley Rein), John Hane (Pillsbury Winthrop), and Lonna Thompson (Association of Public Television Stations), Bill Lake (Chief of the FCC's Media Bureau) and Rebecca Hansen (FCC). Location: FCC, Commission Meeting Room.

12:45 - 2:15 PM. The New America Foundation (NAF) will host a panel discussion titled "Infiltration and Surveillance: Countering Homegrown Terrorism". See, notice and registration page. Location: NAF, Suite 400, 1899 L St., NW.

>2:30 PM. The Senate Intelligence Committee (SIC) will hold a closed markup meeting. See, notice. Location: Room 219, Hart Building.

Wednesday, May 23

9:30 AM - 12:00 NOON. The New America Foundation (NAF) and Public Knowledge (PK) will host an event titled "From Broadcast To Broadband New Theories of the Public Interest in Wireless". Larry Irving will give a keynote speech. At 9:45 AM there will be a panel titled "The End of Scarcity? What, If Any Public Interest Obligations Are Necessary in Broadband?" The speakers will be Joaquin Alvarado (American Public Media), Mark Lloyd (FCC Associate General Counsel), Andy Schwartzman, Kevin Werbach (University of Pennsylvania business school), and Ellen Goodman (Rutgers University School of Law). At 11:00 AM there will be a panel titled "What is the Public Interest in Wireless?". The speakers will be Wally Bowen (Mountain Area Information Network), Michael Calabrese (NAF), Amalia Deloney (Center for Media Justice), Amina Fazlullah (Benton Foundation Margaret McCarthy (staff of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA)), and Harold Feld (PK). See, notice. Location: NAF, Suite 400, 1899 L St., NW.

12:15 - 1:30 PM. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will hold an event titled titled "Domestic Deployment and Operation of Emergency Communications in Times of Disaster: Procedures, Pitfalls, Best Practices". The speakers will be Richard Lee (Associate Bureau Chief of the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau), Brian Luu (Electrical Engineer and Roll Call Program Manager in the FCC's PSHSB), Clifford Gonsalves (Radio Frequency Engineer and TEMS Program Manager in the FCC's PSHSB), and Gordon Fullerton (consultant). Register with Zenji Nakazawa at Zenji dot Nakazawa at fcc dot gov or 202-369-4406. The FCBA states that this is a brown bag lunch of its Homeland Security and Emergency Communications Committee. Location: FCC, Room TW-C468, 445 12th St., SW.

2:00 - 4:00 PM. The Senate Banking Committee's (SBC) Subcommittee on Security and International Trade and Finance will hold a hearing titled "Reviewing the U.S. China Strategic and Economic Dialogue". The witnesses will be Stephen Roach (Yale University), Fred Bergsten (Peterson Institute for International Economics), John Dearie (Financial Services Forum), and Dean Garfield (Information Technology Industry Council). See, notice. Location: Room 538, Dirksen Building.

2:30 PM. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) will hold a hearing titled "Nominations". The SJC will webcast this event. See, notice. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

Thursday, May 24

12:15 - 1:30 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) International Telecommunications and Young Lawyers Committees will host a brown bag lunch titled "A Look at Cross-Border Issues between the U.S. and Mexico". The speakers will be Lindsey Tonsager (Covington & Burling), Hal Grigsby (Department of State), Larry Olson (FCC's International Bureau), Tim McGuire (FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau), and Brian Marenco (FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau). Location: Hogan Lovells, 555 13th St., NW.

2:30 PM. The Senate Intelligence Committee (SIC) will hold a closed hearing titled "Intelligence Matters". See, notice. Location: Room 219, Hart Building.

6:00 - 8:00 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) will host an event titled "Spring Reception". Location: Microsoft, 901 K St., NW.