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Friday, June 1, 2012, Alert No. 2,388.
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House Passes FCC Consolidated Reporting Act

5/30. The House passed HR 3310 [LOC | WW], the "Federal Communications Commission Consolidated Reporting Act of 2012", by voice vote.

Rep. Doris MatsuiRep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) (at right) stated in the House that "This bill consolidates various technology-specific competition reports the Federal Communications Commission is required to make to Congress into a new, single communications marketplace report that will be submitted to Congress every 2 years."

It also eliminates the statutory requirements that the FCC issue certain obsolete reports, such as regarding telegraphs.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) stated in the House that this bill is "a commonsense piece of legislation, much like Mr. Walden's process reform bill for the FCC that was passed in this House in March on a bipartisan vote."

That bill is HR 3309 [LOC | WW], the "Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2012". The House passed it on March 30. See, story titled "House Passes FCC Process Reform Act" and related stories in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,361, March 30, 2012.

Several other Representatives spoke in support of HR 3310. Only Del. Donna Christiansen (D-VI) spoke in opposition. She stated in the House that "FCC's statutory authority on data collection could be affected and certain pertinent reporting requirements could be eliminated".

The bill states that "Nothing in this Act or the amendments made by this Act shall be construed to expand or contract the authority of the Federal Communications Commission."

The Senate has not yet passed either HR 3310 or HR 3309.

Overall Unemployment Rate Steady; Tech Employment Up; Communications Employment Down

6/1. The Department of Labor's (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released employment data for the U.S. for the month of May, 2012.

The BLS stated in a release that "Both the number of unemployed persons (12.7 million) and the unemployment rate (8.2 percent) changed little in May." (Parentheses in original.)

The BLS added that "The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) rose from 5.1 to 5.4 million in May. These individuals accounted for 42.8 percent of the unemployed." (Parentheses in original.)

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (HOGRC) will hold a hearing on June 6, 2012, at 9:30 AM titled "Addressing Concerns about the Integrity of the U.S. Department of Labor's Jobs Reporting". See, notice.

The BLS's estimate of the unemployment rate has been about 8.2 percent for months. See, story titled "BLS Employment Data Shows Downward Trend in Communications and Upward Trend in IT" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,366, April 9, 2012.

Table B-1 attached to the BLS report reveals employment trends in various industry sectors, including information and communications technology (ICT) sectors.

The table below contains ICT related excerpts from the BLS table titled "Table B-1. Employees on nonfarm payrolls by industry sector and selected industry detail". This is the seasonally adjusted data.

Table: Total Number of Employees in Thousands by ICT Industry Sector
  May
2011
March.
2012
April
2012
May
2012
Manufacturing:        
  Computer & peripheral equipment 157.6 163.4 164.3 164.3
  Communication equipment 116.1 110.7 109.7 109.5
  Semiconductors & electronic comp. 383.2 387.6 387.0 389.0
  Electronic instruments 404.3 403.2 402.9 402.9
Information Services:        
  Publishing industries, except Internet 749.1 740.9 740.3 739.7
  Motion picture & sound recording 361.7 360.2 364.9 364.9
  Broadcasting, except Internet 281.9 282.2 282.0 282.2
  Telecommunications 878.2 838.6 835.5 833.5
  Data processing, hosting & related serv. 244.2 241.7 240.9 240.6
  Other information services 156.2 167.6 166.4 166.6
Professional Services:        
  Legal services 1,115.1 1,115.8 1,119.3 1,119.9
  Computer systems design & related serv. 1,523.9 1,576.5 1,581.1 1,586.4
Source: BLS, June 1, 2012 employment report, Table B-1.

This latest ICT employment data shows that trends, reported in previous TLJ stories, continue. That is, employment in both telecommunications services and equipment manufacturing is declining. Employment in manufacturing of both computers and peripheral equipment and semiconductors and electrical components is increasing. Also, employment in computer systems design and related services continues to grow.

Also, if one examines overall ICT data, employment is increasing. Gains in tech are greater than loses in communications.

See also, previous TLJ stories:

House Judiciary Committee to Mark Up RAPID Act

6/1. The House Judiciary Committee (HJC) announced that it will meet to mark up several bills on Wednesday, June 6, 2012, including HR 4377 [LOC | WW], the "Responsibly And Professionally Invigorating Development Act of 2012", or "RAPID Act".

Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) introduced this bill on April 18, 2012. There are now a total of twelve sponsors -- all but one Republican. The bill was also referred to the House Natural Resources Committee (HNRC). One co-sponsor, Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV), is a member of the HNRC.

The primary purpose of this bill is is to speed up the governmental permitting processes for energy development projects, such as oil, natural gas, and wind. Also, it is primarily directed at the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which was enacted in 1969, and which is now codified at 42 U.S.C. 4321, et seq.

As a result of a series of court opinions that expansively construed the NEPA, and implementing regulations adopted by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the NEPA imposes more costs and delays on energy projects than anticipated by the members of the Congress which enacted it. This is likely the main reason that Representatives have introduced the RAPID Act.

However, the RAPID Act would also impact information and communications technology (ICT) in several ways.

Rare Earths. For example, there are the permitting processes for the extraction of rare earth minerals, which are used in a wide range of ICT devices and equipment, including fiber optic cable, disk drives, satellites, and smart phones.

Almost all of the world's supply of rare earth materials (REMs) now comes from the People's Republic of China (PRC). The PRC has in recent years begun to leverage its position. Some members of Congress -- mostly Republicans, but also some Democrats from Western states -- have urged resumption of production in the US, and an easing of the permitting process to encourage and accelerate US projects.

The Obama administration is taking a different approach. In March, the US, Japan and EU filed complaints with the World Trade Organization (WTO) alleging that the PRC is imposing export restraints, export duties, and export quotas on REMs in violation of its WTO commitments.

See, stories titled "US, Japan and EU Take Rare Earths Issue to WTO", "OUSTR Explains Rare Earths Request for Consultations" and "Sen. Murkowski Assigns Some Blame for Rare Earths Problem on US Government Regulation" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,349, March 14, 2012.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) stated back in March that "If the president wants to address China's dominance in critical minerals production, he should support changes to U.S. federal minerals policy to allow domestic mining."

She has introduced legislation that would not lessen environmental standards, but that would, like the RAPID Act, be directed at the length and complexity of obtaining federal permits. She introduced S 1113 [LOC | WW], the "Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2011", on May 26, 2011.

Passage of legislation such as the RAPID Act could have the affect of facilitating the extraction of rare earths from sites in the US, increase the world supply, and thereby benefit the makers and consumers of ICT products that incorporate components made with REMs.

See also, Congressional Research Service (CRS) paper [30 pages in PDF] titled "Rare Earth Elements: The Global Supply Chain", by Marc Humphries, dated September 6, 2011.

FCC, Antenna Towers, and Birds. Second, ICT regulators, such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), are tasked with complying with the NEPA.

The FCC noted in an Order on Remand (discussed below) that the "NEPA requires all federal agencies, including the FCC, to identify and take into account environmental effects when deciding whether to authorize or undertake a major federal action."

In particular, the FCC must comply with the NEPA in proceedings pertaining to the effect of communications towers on migratory birds. The FCC opened a proceeding back on August 20, 2003 with a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) [18 pages in PDF]. See, story titled "FCC Release NOI On Communications Towers and Migratory Birds" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 723, August 21, 2003. The FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) [40 pages in PDF] on November 7, 2006.

The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir), construing the NEPA, issued an opinion on February 18, 2008, in which it vacated an FCC order that denied a petition for protection of birds. See, American Bird Conservancy v. FCC, which is reported at 516 F.3d 1027.

The FCC adopted an Order on Remand [58 pages in PDF] on December 6, 2011. It released that order on December 9, 2011. It is FCC 11-181 in WT Docket No. 08-61 and WT Docket No. 03-187. That order includes new rules.

Non-NEPA Processes. Third, while the RAPID Act is primarily targeted at the NEPA, its changes to permitting procedure would not be limited to the NEPA. If the RAPID Act were enacted, businesses seeking government permits and licenses in a wide range of industries, many of which have their own regulatory regimes and permitting processes, might invoke the RAPID Act.

The HJC's Subcommittee on Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law held a hearing on April 25, 2012. Dinah Bear wrote in her prepared testimony [14 pages in PDF] for that hearing that "While someone who reads H.R. 4377 quickly may assume that the bill is directed only at environmental laws, principally NEPA, the bill's explicit deadlines for decisionmaking as well as for environmental review and compliance processes implicitly amend dozens of unidentified authorizing statutes for every federal agency in the executive branch."

See also, HJC web page with hyperlinks to all prepared testimony.

People and Appointments

6/1. The Department of Health and Human Services' (DHHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT) published a notice in the Federal Register requesting nominations to the ONCHIT's Health Information Technology Standards Committee (HITSC) and Health Information Technology Policy Committee (HITPC). The deadline to submit to nominations is June 11, 2012. See, FR, Vol. 77, No. 106, Friday, June 1, 2012, at Pages 32639-32640.

6/1. David Oxenford joined the Washington DC law firm of Wilkinson Barker Knauer as a partner. He represents broadcast and digital media companies.

More News

6/1. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a notice in the Federal Register that announces that the Secretary of Homeland Security has renewed the charter of the Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee. It next expires on May 8, 2014. See, FR, Vol. 77, No. 106, Friday, June 1, 2012, at Pages 32655-32656.

6/1. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (HOGRC) reported HR 4607 [LOC | WW], the "Midnight Rule Relief Act of 2012". See, story titled "Republicans Introduce Bills to Prevent Agencies From Adopting Major Rules Under a Lame Duck President" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,383, May 15, 2012.

5/31. Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced HRes 671, a resolution pertaining to the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).

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In This Issue
This issue contains the following items:
  House Passes FCC Consolidated Reporting Act
  Overall Unemployment Rate Steady; Tech Employment Up; Communications Employment Down
  House Judiciary Committee to Mark Up RAPID Act
  People and Appointments
  More News
Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Monday, June 4

The House will not meet. See, Rep. Cantor's schedule for the week.

The Senate will meet at 2:00 PM. It will consider the nomination of Timothy Hillman to be a Judge of the U.S. District Court (DMass).

9:00 AM. The Copyright Office (CO) will continue its hearing regarding its triennial review of exemptions to the anticircumvention provisions of 17 U.S.C. 1201. The deadline to submit requests to testify is 5:00 PM EDT on April 2, 2012. See, story titled "Copyright Office Schedules Hearings on Proposed Anticircumvention Exemptions" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,351, March 20, 2012. Location: CO, Copyright Hearing Room, LM-408, James Madison Building, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave., SE.

12:00 NOON - 1:00 PM. The American Bar Association's (ABA) Section of Antitrust Law will host a teleconferenced panel discussion titled "February Antitrust Update for In-House Counsel". The speakers will be from the law firm of Latham & Watkins. No CLE credits. Register by contacting dorothy at dorothyraymond dot com. See, notice.

Tuesday, June 5

The House will meet at 12:00 NOON for morning hour, and at 2:00 PM for legislative business. The House will consider numerous non-technology related items under suspension of the rules. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 PM. See, Rep. Cantor's schedule for the week.

9:00 AM. The Copyright Office (CO) will continue its hearing regarding its triennial review of exemptions to the anticircumvention provisions of 17 U.S.C. 1201. The deadline to submit requests to testify is 5:00 PM EDT on April 2, 2012. See, story titled "Copyright Office Schedules Hearings on Proposed Anticircumvention Exemptions" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,351, March 20, 2012. Location: CO, Copyright Hearing Room, LM-408, James Madison Building, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave., SE.

9:30 - 11:00 AM. The DC Bar Association will host a presentation titled "What You Need to Know About the New Patent Laws under the AIA". The price to attend is $15. Reporters are barred from attending most DC Bar events. No CLE credits. See, notice. For more information, call 202-626-3463. Location: DC Bar Conference Center, 1101 K St., NW.

12:00 NOON - 2:00 PM. The Internet Caucus will host an event titled "What Role Should the UN Have in Governing the Internet? A Briefing on the UN's Internet Governance Initiative". The speakers will include Fiona Alexander (NTIA), Richard Beaird (Department of State), David Gross (Wiley Rein), Commissioner Robert McDowell (FCC), and Sally Wentworth (Internet Society). Free. Open to the public. Register by contacting rsvp at netcaucus dot org or 202-407-8829. Lunch will be served. Location: Room B-369, Rayburn Building.

1:00 - 2:00 PM. American Bar Association's (ABA) Section of Antitrust Law will host a webcast and teleconferenced panel discussion titled "Privacy and Information Security Update". The speakers will be Aryeh Friedman (Dun & Bradstreet), Lisa Sotto (Hunton & Williams) and Aaron Simpson (Hunton & Williams). For more information, and to register, contact Jeanne Welch at jawelch at vorys dot com. See, notice.

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

Day one of a three day conference hosted by the Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) titled "Cloud Computing Forum & Workshop V". See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 87, Friday, May 4, 2012, at Page 26509. Location: DOC, Hoover Building, Room __, 401 Constitution Ave., NW.

Wednesday, June 6

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.

8:00 AM - 2:30 PM. Day one of a two day event titled "Health Privacy Summit". See, notice. Location: Georgetown Law Center, 600 New Jersey Ave., NW.

Day two of a three day conference hosted by the Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) titled "Cloud Computing Forum & Workshop V". See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 87, Friday, May 4, 2012, at Page 26509. Location: DOC, Hoover Building, Room __, 401 Constitution Ave., NW.

9:00 AM. The Copyright Office (CO) will conclude its hearing regarding its triennial review of exemptions to the anticircumvention provisions of 17 U.S.C. 1201. The deadline to submit requests to testify is 5:00 PM EDT on April 2, 2012. See, story titled "Copyright Office Schedules Hearings on Proposed Anticircumvention Exemptions" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,351, March 20, 2012. Location: CO, Copyright Hearing Room, LM-408, James Madison Building, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave., SE.

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM. Day one of a two day conference hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) titled "Safeguarding Health Information: Building Assurance through HIPAA Security". See, notice. The price to attend is $395. Location: Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

ROOM CHANGE. 10:15 AM. The House Commerce Committee's (HCC) Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing titled "The Future of Audio". See, notice. Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building.

11:00 AM. The House Judiciary Committee (HJC) will meet to mark up numerous bills. The third item on the agenda is HR 4377 [LOC | WW], the "Responsibly And Professionally Invigorating Development Act of 2012", or "RAPID Act". See, notice. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) will host a discussion of the book [Amazon] titled "Time to Start Thinking". The speakers will be the author, Ed Luce, and Robert Atkinson (head of the ITIF). See, notice. Free. Open to the public. Location: ITIF/ITIC, Suite 610, 1101 K St., NW.

1:30 PM. The House Foreign Affairs Committee's (HFAC) Subcommittee on Asian and the Pacific will hold a hearing titled "What's Next for the U.S.-Korea Alliance?". See, notice. Location: Room 2172, Rayburn Building.

2:30 PM. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) will hold a hearing on the nominations of Lorna Schofield (to be a Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York), Terrence Berg (USDC/EDMich), and Jesus Bernal (USDC/CDCal). The SJC will webcast this event. See, notice. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

6:00 - 8:00 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Wireless Telecommunications Committee will host a program titled "The Road Ahead for Spectrum". Registrations and cancellations are due by 12:00 NOON on June 5. The price to attend ranges from $25 to $125. Location: Wiley Rein, 1776 K St., NW.

6:00 - 8:30 PM. The Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies will host a speech by Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), Vice Chairman of the House Commerce Committee's (HCC) Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, and a panel discussion titled "Communications Act and FCC Reform". The speakers will be Neil Fried (HCC's Chief Communications and Technology Counsel), David Gross (Wiley Rein), Robert Quinn (AT&T), and Howard Symons (Mintz Levin). RSVP to 202-274-0235 or roundtable at phoenix-center dot org. Location: University Club, Roof, 1135 16th St., NW.

Deadline to submit comments to the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Computer Security Division (CSD) regarding its its draft NIST IR-7848 [38 pages in PDF] titled "Specification for the Asset Summary Reporting Format 1.0".

Thursday, June 7

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.

8:00 AM - 2:30 PM. Day two of a two day event titled "Health Privacy Summit". See, notice. Location: Georgetown Law Center, 600 New Jersey Ave., NW.

Day three of a three day conference hosted by the Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) titled "Cloud Computing Forum & Workshop V". See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 87, Friday, May 4, 2012, at Page 26509. Location: DOC, Hoover Building, Room __, 401 Constitution Ave., NW.

9:00 AM - 4:30 PM. Day two of a two day conference hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) titled "Safeguarding Health Information: Building Assurance through HIPAA Security". See, notice. The price to attend is $395. Location: Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

9:30 AM. The House Judiciary Committee (HJC) will hold a hearing titled "Oversight of the United States Department of Justice". See, notice. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

9:30 AM - 2:00 PM. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) North American Numbering Council (NANC) will meet. Location: FCC, 445 12th St., SW.

10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) will hold an executive business meeting. The agenda includes consideration of five judicial nominees: Robert Bacharach (to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit), Paul Grimm (U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland), John Dowdell (USDC/NDOkla), Mark Walker (USDC/NDFl), and Brian Davis (USDC/MDFl). See, notice. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM. The House Intelligence Committee (HIC) will hold a closed hearing titled "Ongoing Intelligence Activities". See, notice. Location: Room HVC-304, Capitol Visitor Center.

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM. American Bar Association's (ABA) Section of Intellectual Property Law will host a webcast and teleconferenced panel discussion titled "International Patent Litigation: A Compare and Contrast of Patent Litigation in Different Countries". The speakers will be Koen Bijvank (Vereenigde), David Hill (Finnegan Henderson), Steve Schad (ESCO Corporation), and Stephanie Roberts (Banner & Witcoff). The price ranges from $75 to $195. See, notice.

12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM. American Bar Association's (ABA) Section of International Law will host a webcast and teleconferenced panel discussion titled "HIPAA and HITECH Act Fundamentals: What You Need to Know Now About the Privacy and Security Rules". The speakers will be Eddie Williams (Holland & Knight), Elaine Zacharakis (Zacharakis Loumbas Law), and Clay Countryman (Breazeale Sachse & Wilson). The price ranges from $95 to $195. CLE credits. See, notice.

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

Day one of a two day event hosted by the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) titled "Legal Secretaries & Administrators Conference". For more information, contact aipla at aipla dot org or call 703-415-0780. Location: USPTO, Alexandria, VA.

Friday, June 8

The House will meet at 9:00 AM for legislative business. See, Rep. Cantor's schedule for the week.

9:30 AM. The House Ways and Means Committee's (HWMC) Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures will hold a hearing on expiring tax provisions, including the research and development (R&D) tax credit. It is codified at 21 U.S.C. 41, but expired on December 31, 2011. It was last extended at the end of 2010. See, story titled "Tax Bill Enacted With R&D Tax Credit Extension" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,182, December 18, 2010. See, notice. Location: Room 1100, Longworth Building.

Day two of a two day event hosted by the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) titled "Legal Secretaries & Administrators Conference". For more information, contact aipla at aipla dot org or call 703-415-0780. Location: USPTO, Alexandria, VA.

Deadline to submit comments to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in response to its Patents External Quality Survey. See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 68, Monday, April 9, 2012, at Pages 21086-21087.