Rep. Istook Introduces Filtering Bill for Federally Funded School Computers

(July 25, 1999) Rep. Ernest Istook again introduced a bill that would require all schools and libraries receiving federal funds to acquire or operate computers to use a filtering technology to protect children from Internet porn.

Related Pages
Summary of Filtering Bills in the 106th Congress.
Summary of Filtering Bills in the 105th Congress.
HR 2560 IH, the Child Protection Act, 7/20/99.

Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK) introduced HR 2560 IH, the Child Protection Act of 1999, on July 20. Rep. Istook sponsored a similar bill in the 105th Congress, named the Child Protection Act of 1998. While it made progress in the House, it was not enacted into law.

Also, both the House and the Senate Commerce Committee have already passed bills in this Congress which would mandate the use of filtering software by schools and libraries receiving federal e-rate subsidies.

The Child Protection Act of 1999 requires that: "Any elementary or secondary school or public library that has received under any program or activity of any Federal agency any funds for the acquisition or operation of any computer that is accessible to minors and that has access to the Internet shall (1) install software on that computer that is determined ... to be adequately designed to prevent minors from obtaining access to any obscene information or child pornography using that computer; and (2) ensure that such software is operational whenever that computer is used by minors, ..."

Rep. Istook

While Rep. Istook has introduced HR 2560 as a stand alone bill, it is also possible that he will offer the language contained in the bill as an amendment to an education appropriations bill coming out of the House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Labor, Health, Human Services, and Education. Rep. Istook is a member of this subcommittee. So is Rep. Jay Dickey (R-AZ), the lead cosponsor of Rep. Istook's bill. Moreover, last year Rep. Istook used this same procedure with his previous bill. The subcommittee approved the amendment, but it was taken out of the final appropriations bill.

The other original cosponsors of the bill are Representatives Bob Franks (R-NJ), Ronnie Shows (D-MS), Mark Souder (R-IN), and Lee Terry (R-NE). Rep. Franks is leading the House effort to pass legislation that requires schools and libraries receiving e-rate subsidies to use filtering software. The e-rate does not fund the purchase of computers. Rather, it mostly subsidizes computer networking, Internet connections, and telephone service.

Rep. Istook represents the 5th Congressional District in Oklahoma. It runs from the northern end of Oklahoma City north to the Kansas border. While the oil and gas industry have long been a major part of the district's economy, Lucent Technologies is now one of the largest employers in the district.

Rep. Istook scored 60 (out of a possible 100) on the Tech Law Journal High-Tech Scorecard 1998.

Related Story: Istook Internet Bill Requires Blocking Software, 7/2/98.