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Saturday, December 1, 2012, Alert No. 2,480.
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House Passes STEM Visas Bill

11/30. The House passed HR 6429 [LOC | WW | PDF], the "STEM Jobs Act of 2012", by a vote of 245-139. See, Roll Call No. 613. Republicans voted 218-5. Democrats voted 27-134.

The Senate has not yet passed this bill, and is not likely to do so.

President Obama announced his opposition on November 28. See, story titled "Obama Opposes STEM Visas Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,478, November 29, 2012.

During floor debate, opponents offered little criticism of the STEM visas proposal. Rather, they focused their comments on the bill's provision that would eliminate another visa program that issues visas by lottery.

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), the House Majority Leader, stated that "getting our economy moving again needs to be our top priority, but jobs will not take off until American businesses have the workers they need to drive innovation and growth."

Rep. Eric CantorRep. Cantor (at right) said that "The immigrants who come to this country for school and for work have always been key players in driving our Nation's economy. Unfortunately, current immigration policies are preventing American businesses from hiring foreign students who earn advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math from our best universities."

"From growing startups to U.S. multinationals, American employers are desperate for qualified STEM workers, no matter where they're from. Microsoft, for example, has over 6,000 job openings waiting to be filled by scientists, researchers, engineers, and developers. For now, these openings and many others will remain vacant because too few American students are graduating with STEM degrees, and foreign STEM graduates can't get the visas they need. Every year, the U.S. invests in educating thousands of foreign students in STEM fields at our top universities only to send them back to compete against us."

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) stated in the House that "For more than 2 years, the national campaigns have talked in terms of jobs. STEM means jobs ... For each person we welcome to America with one of these high degrees, we create jobs, net jobs. We create opportunity for expansion of the kinds of businesses that, in fact, Americans are prepared to work in, but often we do not have enough engineers, scientists, or math professionals. This shortage, particularly at the masters and doctorate level, is well documented."

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) stated that "65 percent of Ph.D. graduates in the STEM fields actually are foreign born. They come, are educated here, and then return home or return somewhere else to compete against us. We ought to be rolling out the red carpet for them to stay."

Rep. Zoe LofgrenRep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) (at right) stated that "There's no question that a STEM green card program is the right thing to do for our country", but "I can't support a bill that pits immigrant communities against each other". It would "eliminate the Diversity Visa program".

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) stated that "the same poison pill that defeated this bill on suspension is now being brought up again with the same poison pill that pits immigrant and minority communities against one another and makes the legislation, therefore, unworkable. Rather than simply creating green cards for STEM graduates, the majority insists that we must pay for the new visas by completely eliminating Diversity Visas, a longstanding legal immigration program. The elimination of the Diversity Visa program will drastically reduce immigration from African nations because immigrants from Africa normally comprise half the Diversity Visa program's annual beneficiaries."

Rep. Luis Guitierrez (D-Il) stated that "when we have the real immigration debate, the debate that will result in the signature of the President," it will start in January of 2013 with the 113th Congress.

Ajit Pai, the Silicon Prairie, and STEM Visas

11/30. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, who is the son of immigrants from India, commented on House passage of HR 6429 [LOC | WW | PDF], the "STEM Jobs Act of 2012", on Friday, November 30, 2012.

The bill would enable aliens who obtain advanced degrees in STEM fields from US universities to obtain visas, and therefore remain in the US, and contribute to innovation and economic development.

Ajit PaiPai (at right) stated in a release that "I commend the U.S. House of Representatives for taking action to allow additional foreign graduates with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to remain in the United States. We should be proud that our nation’s institutions of higher education attract exceptionally talented students from around the world. However, it does not make sense to educate those students here in the United States only to require them to leave the country following graduation."

He continued that "We know that highly educated STEM professionals will innovate, create jobs, and produce economic growth. The only question is whether that entrepreneurial spirit will find a home in the United States or some other country. A sensible STEM immigration policy, therefore, is critical to the competitiveness of our nation’s economy generally and our information and communications technology (ICT) sector in particular."

The Silicon Valley area Representatives, including Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), and Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), all voted against this bill. Also, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), whose San Francisco district stretches south to San Mateo and Redwood City, also voted no. Representatives from other nearby districts voted no.

After the vote, Pai, who grew up in the prairie state of Kansas, wrote that "We should encourage STEM graduates to settle the Silicon Prairie, not venture overseas."

The entire Kansas delegation -- Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), and Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) -- voted yes. Also, all three members of the Nebraska delegation voted yes. Four out of five Oklahoma Representatives vote yes, and one, Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK), did not vote. The two at large Representatives from South Dakota and North Dakota voted yes. Representatives from Wyoming, Montana, the Colorado 4th District, the Minnesota 7th, the Iowa 5th, and the west Texas districts, all voted yes, except for Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), the sponsor, who did not vote.

Not a single prairie Representative voted against the bill. Of course, this group is overwhelmingly Republican. But, it also includes two Democrats, one of whom did not vote, Rep. Boren. The other, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), voted yes. Also, while Republicans voted 218-5 for this bill, two of these no votes came from California Republicans. One of these, Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), represents a district located to the east of Silicon Valley. And, four more California Republicans did not vote -- Rep. Herger, Rep. Bilbray, Rep. McClintock, and Rep. Gallegly. Moreover, Rep. Herger submitted a statement for the Congressional Record that had he been present, he would have voted no.

There was a high correlation between party affiliation and voting on HR 6429. However, another divide was also a good predictor of votes. Representatives from California, and especially from Silicon Valley and the surrounding areas, opposed this bill. Representatives from prairie districts overwhelmingly supported this bill.

Rep. Jerry MoranThe Senate has not yet passed HR 6429. It is not likely to do so in the 112th Congress. However, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) (at right), who represents the prairie state of Kansas, introduced, S 3217 [LOC | WW], the "Startup Act 2.0", on May 22, 2012.

It contains a provision intended to keep aliens with advanced degrees in STEM fields working in the US in STEM fields after graduation. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) are cosponsors.

Also, Google is deploying a fiber based broadband network in Kansas City, Kansas.

Pai also stated that "We should enable the next Google, the next Intel, and the next Sun Microsystems to be founded here, not abroad. Today's vote by the House of Representatives is an important step toward making these aspirations become realities."

Pai also wrote, "I also applaud those in the U.S. Senate who are working on this issue. Senators Moran, Warner, Rubio, and Coons, for example, have come together to co-sponsor the Startup Act 2.0. I hope that legislators will continue to work across party lines in this fashion to enact STEM immigration reform."

Section 3 of S 3217 would provide for the adjustment "of the status of not more than 50,000 aliens who have earned a master's degree or a doctorate degree at an institution of higher education in a STEM field to that of an alien conditionally admitted for permanent residence".

It would also "authorize each alien granted such adjustment of status to remain in the United States -- (1) for up to 1 year after the expiration of the alien's student visa ... if the alien is diligently searching for an opportunity to become actively engaged in a STEM field; and (2) indefinitely if the alien remains actively engaged in a STEM field".

FCC Announces Another LPFM Order

11/30. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted, but did not release, a Fifth Order on Reconsideration and Sixth Report and Order regarding approval of pending FM translator radio applications and implementation of the Local Community Radio Act (LCRA). The FCC issued only a short release, and the five Commissioners wrote statements.

Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) and Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) also spoke at the event. See, Rep. Terry's release.  They were sponsors of the LCRA, HR 6533 [LOC | WW], which was enacted late in the lame duck session of the 111th Congress. See, stories titled "Congress Passes Low Power FM Bill" and "Summary of HR 6533, the Community Radio Act of 2010",  in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,183, December 19, 2010.

There is a long and tempestuous history to policy making in this area. See, "History of LPFM Law and Policy Making" also in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,183.

Commissioner Robert McDowell wrote in his statement that "My hope is that we have finally forged a workable compromise that will allow for the licensing and successful operation of both translators and LPFM stations to benefit all Americans."

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn wrote in her statement that "we will greatly increase the number of LPFM stations to augment the airwaves through a process that waives the second-adjacent channel spacing requirement. What this means is that in major urban markets, space will be freed up for LPFM stations and they will soon achieve a share of the dial previously dominated mainly by larger, national entities. Through this Order, we take a resource that has been indispensable in rural communities and bring it into major metropolitan areas."

Dennis Wharton of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) stated in a release that "We support faithful implementation of LCRA and look forward to working with the Commission and the LPFM community in the future."

This item is FCC 12-144 in MM Docket No. 99-25.

9th Circuit Grants En Banc Rehearing in Challenge to Ban on Advertising by Public Broadcasters

11/21. The U.S. Court of Appeals (9thCir) issued an order granting en banc rehearing in Minority Television Project v. FCC.

On April 12, 2012, a three judge panel issued its divided opinion [49 pages in PDF] regarding the constitutionality of the statutory ban, codified at 47 U.S.C. § 399b, on advertising by public broadcasters. See, story titled "9th Circuit Holds Unconstitutional the Ban on Public Broadcasting of Political and Issues Advertising" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,372, April 16, 2012.

Section 399b provides that "No public broadcast station may make its facilities available to any person for the broadcasting of any advertisement".

It also provides that "advertisement" means "any message or other programming material which is broadcast or otherwise transmitted in exchange for any remuneration, and which is intended --- (1) to promote any service, facility, or product offered by any person who is engaged in such offering for profit; (2) to express the views of any person with respect to any matter of public importance or interest; or (3) to support or oppose any candidate for political office."

Minority Television Project, a public broadcaster, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court (NDCal) alleging that this ban violates its First Amendment free speech rights.

The District Court, and the three judge panel, applied intermediate scrutiny -- "narrowly tailored to further a substantial government interest". This is a standard of review was invented by the Supreme Court.

The First Amendment provides that "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ..."

The District Court upheld all three parts of the ban.

The Court of Appeals panel concluded that, as to the bans on "public importance" ads and "candidate for political office" ads, the government has a substantial interest in noncommercial public broadcasting, and that Section 399b furthers this interest, but that this interest is not sufficiently tailored to survive broadcast scrutiny. Hence, the bans in subsections (2) and (3) are unconstitutional.

The Court of Appeals also held that the ban on products and services advertising satisfies the intermediate scrutiny test.  Hence, the ban in subsection (1) is constitutional.

Hypothetically, the en banc panel, or eventually, the Supreme Court, could write that the rationale for allowing regulation of broadcast speech is obsolete, and move towards abandonment. If so, this might result in holding unconstitutional all three parts of Section 399b.

On the other hand, the court could adhere to intermediate scrutiny, perpetuate regulation of broadcast speech, and uphold the statute in its entirety.

This case is Minority Television Project, Inc. v. FCC, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, App. Ct. No. 09-17311, an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, D.C. No. 3:06-cv-02699-EDL.

In This Issue
This issue contains the following items:
 • House Passes STEM Visas Bill
 • Ajit Pai, the Silicon Prairie, and STEM Visas
 • FCC Announces Another LPFM Order
 • 9th Circuit Grants En Banc Rehearing in Challenge to Ban on Advertising by Public Broadcasters
Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Monday, December 3

The House will meet at 12:00 NOON for morning hour, and at 2:00 PM for legislative business. Rep. Cantor's schedule for the week states that "No votes are expected in the House" on December 3.

12:00 NOON - 1:00 PM. The American Bar Association (ABA) will host an on site and teleconferenced panel discussion titled "The FTC Report That K-Dur Ignored". See, July 16, 2012 opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals (3rdCir) in In Re K-Dur Antitrust Litigation. The speakers will be Shylah Alfonso (Perkins Coie), Kelly Smith (Arnold & Porter), Michael Kades (FTC), and Joanna Tsai (Charles River Associates). Free. No CLE credits. See, notice. Location: Perkins Coie, 700 13th St., NW.

Deadline to submit to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) oppositions to the petitions for reconsideration of its First Report and Order [67 pages in PDF] regarding spectrum for the operation of Medical Body Area Networks (MBAN). This R&O is FCC 12-54 in ET Docket No. 08-59. See, petition and petition. See also, FCC Public Notice, and notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 222, November 16, 2012, at Pages 68721-68722.

Tuesday, December 4

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.

12:00 NOON - 1:15 PM. The George Mason University's (GMU) School of Public Policy will host book presentation. Robert Atkinson (Information Technology and Innovation Foundation) will discuss his recently published book [Amazon] titled "Innovation Economics: the Race for Global Advantage". Location: GMU, Room 475, Founders Hall, 3351 Fairfax Drive, Fairfax, VA.

1:00 - 2:30 PM. The American Bar Association (ABA) will host a webcast and teleconferenced panel discussion titled "Building or Sabotaging the Enterprise? Squaring Cyber Security with Technologies that Undermine It". The speakers will be James Clark (Oasis), Charles Palmer (IBM Research), Candace Jones (Federal Reserve Bank of New York), and Roland Trope (Trope & Schramm). Prices vary. CLE credits. See, notice.

1:00 - 2:30 PM. The American Bar Association (ABA) will host a webcast and teleconferenced panel discussion titled "Videotaping Police, Wiretapping Laws and the First Amendment CLE Teleconference". Prices vary. No CLE credits. See, notice.

2:30 PM. The Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) will hold a hearing on numerous pending nominations, including Joshua Wright (to be an FTC Commission) and Mignon Clyburn (reappointment to FCC). See, notice. The SCC will webcast this hearing. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.

2:30 - 3:30 PM. The Internet Caucus will host an event at which Alexander Alvaro, VP of the European Parliament, will speak regarding privacy and security. For more information, call 202-638-4370. Location: IC/CDT, 1634 I St.,  NW.

6:00 - 8:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) International Committee and Wireless Telecommunications Committee will host an event titled "Holiday Program and Networking Reception". No CLE credits. Prices vary. See, notice. Location: House of Sweden, 2900 K St., NW.

Wednesday, December 5

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

PRESCHEDULED FROM SEPTEMBER 20. 10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The House Science Committee's (HSC) Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight will hold a hearing titled "The Impact of International Technology Transfer on American Research and Development". The HSC will webcast this hearing. Location: Room 2318, Rayburn Building.

10:00 AM - 3:00 PM. The Department of Health and Human Services' (DHHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology's (ONCHIT) HIT Policy Committee will meet. Open to the public. See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 210, October 30, 2012, at Pages 65691-65692. Location: Dupont Circle Hotel, 1500 New Hampshire Ave., NW.

12:00 NOON - 1:00 PM. The American Bar Association (ABA) will host a webcast and teleconferenced panel discussion titled "Perspectives on Canada's New Copyright Laws: Bill C-11". The speakers will be Jerry Cohen (Burns Levinson), David Kent (McMillan), Sarah Kilpatrick (McMillan), Stephen Zolf (Heenan Blaikie), and Johanna Dennis (Southern University Law Center). Prices vary. No CLE credits. See, notice.

TIME?. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) will meet. Location: FCC, Commission Meeting Room, Room TW-C305, 445 12th St., SW.

POSTPONED. 6:00 - 8:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Transactional Committee will host an event titled "Verizon/SpectrumCo: Issues and Process -- Anatomy of a Transaction". CLE credits. Prices vary. See, notice.

Deadline to submit comments to the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Computer Security Division (CSD) regarding its draft SP 800-90 C [50 pages in PDF] titled "Recommendation for Random Bit Generator (RBG) Constructions".

Deadline to submit comments to the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Computer Security Division (CSD) regarding its draft SP 800-90 B [78 pages in PDF] titled "Recommendation for the Entropy Sources Used for Random Bit Generation".

Deadline to submit comments to the Copyright Office (CO) regarding creating a "resale royalty right" for visual artists. See, original notice in the Federal Register (FR), Vol. 77, No. 182, September 19, 2012, at Pages 58175-58179, and extension notice in the FR, Vol. 77, No. 200, October 16, 2012, at Page 63342. See also, story titled "Copyright Office Requests Comments on Creating a Resale Royalty Right for Visual Artists" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,464, October 18, 2012.

Thursday, December 6

8:15 AM - 3:30 PM. The Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and George Washington University's (GWU) Institute for International Economic Policy (IIEP) will host an event titled "Can Trade Policies and Agreements Advance Internet Freedom?". Free. Open to the public. Location: GWU, Elliot School of International Affairs, Lindner Commons, 6th floor, 1957 E St., NW.

9:30 AM - 12:15 PM. The Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies will to host an event titled "Conference to Examine Impact of Election on U.S. Broadband Policy". The speakers will be Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Ajit Pai (FCC Commissioner), Michael McCurry, Rich Galen, Kathy Brown (Verizon), and James Cicconi (AT&T). Location: Phoenix Center, Suite 440, 5335 Wisconsin Ave. NW.

10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) will hold an executive business meeting. The agenda includes consideration of S 1223 [LOC | WW], the "Location Privacy Protection Act of 2011", sponsored by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN).The agenda also again includes consideration of the nominations of Katherine Failla (USDC/SDNY), Troy Nunley (USDC/EDCal), Sheri Chappell (USDC/MDFl), Pamela Ki Mai Chen (USDC/EDNY), and Mark Barnett (U.S. Court of International Trade). See, notice. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM. The National Economists Club will host a lunch. The speaker will be Robert Atkinson (ITIF). Prices vary. See, notice and registration page. Location: ITIF/ITIC, Suite 610A, 1101 K St., NW.

12:00 NOON - 2:00 PM. The Federalist Society will host a lunch and panel discussion titled "Private Attorneys and the War on Terror". The speakers will be Nitsana Leitner (Israel Law Center), Steven Bradbury (Dechert), and Stephen Vladeck (American University law school). See, notice and registration page. Free. No CLE credits. Location: National Press Club, 13th Floor, 529 14th St., NW.

2:00 - 2:30 PM. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) will hold a news conference by teleconference to release and discuss the ITIF's report titled "2012 State New Economy Index". The speakers will be Rob Atkinson (ITIF) and Luke Stewart (ITIF). For call in information, contact Alexis Fearon at afearon at itif dot org or 202-524-4390.

Friday, December 7

8:30 AM. The Department of Labor's (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is scheduled to release its November 2012 unemployment data.

Monday, December 10

9:00 AM - 5:30 PM. The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will hold a workshop titled "Patent Assertion Entity Activities". See, notice and agenda. Location: FTC, Satellite Building and Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Ave., NW.

Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) [57 pages in PDF] regarding cable TV technical rules. The FCC adopted and released this item on August 3, 2012. It is FCC 12-86 in MB Docket No. 12-217. See, notice in the Federal Register Vol. 77, No. 195, October 9, 2012, at Pages 61351-61375. See also, TLJ story titled "FCC Adopts NPRM Regarding Cable TV Technical Rules" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,421, August 5, 2012.

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