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Summary of Select Pending Bills
Which Affect the Computer and Internet Industry
105th Congress


Antitrust.

  • There are no major pending antitrust bills.

Censorship: Blocking Software.

  • HR 3177Safe Schools Internet Act.
    Rep. Bob Franks.  Intr. 2/11/98.
    Requires blocking software on computers in schools and libraries receiving "e-rate" subsidies.
  • S 1619. Safe Schools Internet Act.
    McCain (cosponsors: Hollings, Murray).  Intr. 2/9/98.  3/12 approved by Commerce Comm. Variation of bill endorsed by Al Gore.  Approved by Senate, 7/_/98.
    Requires blocking software on computers in schools and libraries receiving "e-rate" subsidies.
  • Child Protection Act of 1998.
    Rep. Istook Amend. to Labor/HHS/Educ. Appropriations Bill.  Approved by House Labor/HHS/Educ. Approp. Subcommittee, 6/23/98.
    Requires all schools receiving any federal computer funds to install software to block minor's access to obscentity.
  • Dodd Amendment to S442 (Internet Tax Freedom Act).
    S 442 passed Senate on 10/8/98.
    Exempts from the tax moratorium Internet access providers that do not provide blocking software.  (Text of Dodd Amendment.)
  • As of 10/16, the Dodd Amendment is in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill, but staff for the sponsors are uncertain whether S 1619 is in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill.

Censorship: CDA II.

  • S 1482Untitled "Harmful to Minors" Act.
    Sen. Dan Coats. Intr. 11/8/97.  Refered to Commerce Comm.  Hearing held 2/12/98.  Passed by Commerce Committee 3/12/98.  Passed by the Senate as an amendment to the FY 1999 CJS appropriation bill on 7/23.
    Prohibits commercial distribution on the web to minors of material that is harmful to minors.
  • Coats Amendment.  Amendment No. 3695 to S 442 (Internet Tax Freedom Act).
    Sen. Coats had been expected to also offer the language of S 1482 as an amendment to S 442 (ITFA).  But, the Senate adopted a rule that permitted only germane amendments.   Sen. Coats then offered an amendment that excludes from the tax moratorium businesses that distribute over the web to minors materials is that harmful to minors.  The amendment was adopted on 10/7 with only one no vote.  The bill passed on 10/8.  The House has not passed this version of the ITFA.
  • HR 3783. Child Online Protection Act.
    Rep. Mike Oxley.  Intr. 4/30, refered to House Commerce Comm.  Hearing held 9/11; Telecom Subcomm markup held 9/17; and full committee markup and approval on 9/24.  Passed the House by voice vote on 10/8.  The bill is being held up in the Senate by Sen. Leahy.  Clinton also opposes the bill.
    This bill is the House version of the Coats bill.
  • As of 10/16, HR 3783 is in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill.

Education, see also:

  • Internet: Schools and Libraries Program.

Employment & Immigration: H1B Visas.

  • S 1723The American Competitiveness Act.
    Sen. Spencer Abraham.  Intr. 3/6/98.  Hearing by Judiciary Comm. 2/25/98.  Substitute Bill approved by Judiciary Comm. 4/2/98 by vote of 14-6.  Approved by Senate on 5/18/98 by vote of 78-20.
    Increases the annual cap on H1B visas.
  • S 1878. High Tech Immigration and United States Worker Protection Act.
    Sen. Ted Kennedy and Sen. Diane Feinstein.  Intr. 3/27/98.  Rejected by Judiciary Comm. 4/2/98.
    Increases the annual cap on H1B visas.
  • HR 3736.  Workforce Improvement and Protection Act of 1998.
    Rep. Lamar Smith.  Approved by House Jud. Committee on 5/20 by vote of 20-4.   Approved by House on 9/24/98.  Clinton announced his support on 9/28. This bill is being held up in the Senate by Sen. Harkin (D-IO).
    Increases the annual cap on H1B visas.
  • As of 10/16, HR 3736 is in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill.

Encryption.

  • No encryption bill was passed by the 105th Congress.

Intellectual Property (Patent/Trademark/Copyright).

  • HR 40021st Century Patent System Improvement Act.
    Coble.  Passed House.
  • HR 811.  Patent Term Registration Act of 1997.
    Rohrabacher. 60 cosponsors.  Intr. 2/25/97.  Referred to Judiciary Comm. & Subcomm. on Courts & Intelpro.  Subcomm. hearing on 2/26/97.  Tabled at subcomm. markup on 3/5/97.
    Provides that patent term shall be the later of 17 years from the date patent is granted or 20 years from the date the application was filed.
  • S 507Omnibus Patent Act of 1997.
    Orrin Hatch.  Referred to Judiciary Comm.
  • HR 2652Collections of Data Protection Act.
    Howard Coble.  Approved by House Judiciary Comm. 3/24/98.  Passed by the House on
  • HR 2281.  WIPO Copyright Treaty Implementation Act.
    Howard Coble. 5 cosponsors. Intr. 7/29/97. Ref. to Judiciary Comm. and Subcomm. on Courts and Intelpro.  Ref. to Commerce Comm.  Passed by House on 8/4/98.
  • S 1121.  WIPO Copyright and Performances and Phonograms Treaty Implementation Act of 1997.
  • HR 2281 has passed the Congress and will be signed by the President.

Internet: Digital Signatures.

  • HR 2991: Electronic Commerce Enhancement Act of 1997.
    Rep. Eshoo.  Intr. 11/9/97.  Referred to Commerce Comm. and to Government Reform and Oversight Comm.  No action has been taken on this bill.
  • S 2107: Government Paperwork Elimination Act.
    Sen Abraham.  Intr. 5/21/98.  Approved by Senate Commerce Comm. on 7/29/98.  This bill was atached as an amendment to S 442, the Internet Tax Freedom Act, on 10/2.  S 442 was passed by the Senate on 10/8.  It has not passed the House.
    This bill requires federal agencies to make versions of their forms available online, and allow people to submit these forms with digital signatures as a standard.  It also sets up a process by which commercially developed digital signatures can be used in submitting forms to the government.  It also permits the digital storage of federal documents.
  • As of 10/16, HR 2107 is in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill.

Internet: Gambling.

  • HR 2380.  Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.
    Rep. Bob Goodlatte.  43 cosponsors.  Int. 9/3/97.  Ref. to Judiciary Comm. & Subcomm. on Crime.
  • S 474.  Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.
    Sen. Kyl.  11 cosponsors.  Intr. 3/19/97. 6/28 hearing by Judiciary Committee. 10/23 passed by Judiciary Comm.  Attached as an amendment to an appropriations bill, and then passed the Senate on 7/__/98.
  • No Internet gambling ban will be enacted in the 105th Congress.

Internet: Schools & Libraries Program (aka "E-rate" and "Gore Tax").

  • HR 4324.  Schools and Libraries Internet Access Act.
    Rep. Tauzin.  Intr. 7/23/98. This bill would reform the schools and libraries program by terminating the SLC, shifting administration of the program from the FCC to the NTIA, ending universal service funding, funding the program out of the existing excise tax on phones, and distributing funds to the states in the form of block grants.  Ways and Means Committee hearing held on 8/4/98.
  • S 2348.  Schools and Libraries Internet Access Act.
    Sen. Conrad Burns.  Intr. 7/23/98.  Identical to HR 4324.
  • HR 4065.
    Rep. Joe Scarborough.  Intr. 6/16/98.  This bill would terminate the e-rate's funding.
  • HR 4032.
    Rep. Sensenbrenner.  Intr. 6/10/98.  This bill would delete subsections of Section 254 pertaining to the e-rate.
  • None of these bills will pass in the 105th Congress.  Of these bills, HR 4324 and S 2348 probably have the most support in Congress.
  • None of these bills will be enacted in the 105th Congress.

Internet: Slamming and Spamming.

  • Slamming and spamming are separate issues.  However, several bills include provisions covering both issues.
  • S 771. Unsolicited Commercial Electronic Mail Choice Act of 1997.
    Sen. Murkowski.  Intr. 5/21/97.  It was attached as an amendment to S 1618, which passed the Senate on 5/12/98.
  • S 875.  Electronic Mailbox Protection Act of 1997.
    Torricelli/Feinstein.  Intr. 6/11/97.
    Anti-spamming bill providing civil penalties for email which is unsolicited or from a ficticious or disquised source; enforcement authority given to FTC.
  • S 1618.
    Sen. McCain.  Intr. 2/9/98.  This bill was iniitially an anti-slamming bill.   It passed the Senate on 5/12/98.  In its final form it included the anti-slamming (S 1618), anti-spamming (S 771), and truth in billing components (Rockefeller Amendment).
  • Rockefeller Amendment.
    Sen. Rockefeller.  Passed the Senate on 5/12/98 as part of S 1618.  It is unrelated.  It deals with the content of long distance phone companies' monthly bills.
  • HR 3888.
    Rep Tauzin.  Intr 5/14/98.  Passed the House Telecommunications Subcomm. on 8/6/98.  Passed the House Commerce Comm. on 9/-/98.  Passed House on 10/12/98.
    This bill, in its intitial form, contained the anti-slamming and anti-spamming provisions of S 1618, but not the Rockefeller Amendment. 
  • HR 4018.
    Rep. Blumenauer.  Intr. 6/9/98.  This bill contains the Rockefeller "truth in phone billing" provision.  It will not pass the House.
  • As of 10/19 negotiations were still under way on a slamming bill.

Internet: Miscellaneous.

  • HR 2372.  Internet Protection Act of 1997.
    Rep. Rick White. Intr. 7/31/97. Ref to Commerce Comm. & Telecom. Subcomm.  It will not be enacted into law in the 105th Congress.
    This bill would prevents the FCC from regulating the Internet.

Internet: see also,

  • Censorship: blocking software.
  • Censorship: CDA II.
  • Privacy.
  • Taxation: Internet Tax Freedom Act.

Privacy: Children.

  • S 2326.  Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.
    Sen. Bryan.  Hearing held by Sen. Commerce Comm. 9/_/98.  Approved by Sen. Commerce Comm. on 10/1/98.  Passed by the Senate as an amendment to the Internet Tax Freedom Act on 10/8.
    This bill would require that any website or online service that is directed to children obtain parental consent before collecting information from children under the age of 13.
  • HR 4667.  Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.
    Rep. Ed Markey.  Companion bill to S 2326. Passed by the House as an amendment to the Children Online Protection act on 10/8.
  • As of 10/16, S 2326 is in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill.

Privacy: Miscellaneous.

  • HR 1367.  Federal Internet Privacy Protection Act.
    Rep. Barrett.  Intr. 4/17/97.  Ref. to Gov. Reform & Oversight Comm.
    Prevents federal agencies from putting certain individuals' records online.
  • HR 2368.  Data Privacy Act of 1997.
    Rep. Tauzin.  Intr. 7/31/97, and referred to the Commerce Comm., and the Communications Subcomm.

Securities.

  • S 1620 and HR 1889 had some minors differences that were worked out in conference on 10/9.  Both the House and Senate passed the Conference Report on 10/13.  Clinton supports the bill.

Taxation: Internet Tax Freedom Act.

  • S 442Internet Tax Freedom Act.
    Ron Wyden.  Passed Senate on 10/8/98.
    Preemption of state and local internet taxation.
  • HR 1054Internet Tax Freedom Act.
    Chris Cox.
    Preemption of state and local internet taxation.
  • S 1888.  Internet Tax Freedom Act.
    Gregg and Lieberman.
    Preemption of state and local internet taxation.
  • HR 995. Tax Free Internet Act of 1997.
    Weldon. 10 cosponsors, incl. Goodlatte.  Ref. to Ways & Means Comm.
    Amends IRC 4253 to bar excise taxes on payments for internet access or online service.
  • As of 10/16, S 442 is in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill.

Taxation: Miscellaneous.

  • HR 2672.  1045 Capital Gains Rollover Amendment (Part of IRS Reform Bill).
    Passed House, Senate, and signed by the President on 7/22/98.  Public Law 105-206.
  • HR 143.  Software Export Equity Act.
    Rep. Dunn.
    Amends IRC 927(a)(2) regarding taxation of foreign sales corporations, to read "software, whether or not patented".
  • S 387.  Software Export Equity Act.
    Sen. Orrin Hatch.
    Taxation of foreign sales corporations/software.

Telecom.

  •  

Telecom, see also:

  • Internet: Slamming and Spamming.
  • Internet: Schools and Libraries Program.
  • Internet: Miscellaneous (Internet Protection Act).

Trade

  • Computer export controls. (Spence Dellums amendment to Defense Export Bill). FY 98 Dept. of Def. Authorization, HR 1119, PL 105-85, signed into law 11/18/98.  Title XII, Subtitle B: Export Controls on High Performance Computers.  It places restrictions on sales of computers capable of 2 billion operations per second.  Also, requires GAO study of risks of these computers.  GAO study released in September, 1998.

Year 2000: Limitation of Liability.

Year 2000: Miscellaneous.

  • S 1518.
    Sen. Bennett.  Intr. 11/10/97.  No action has been taken.
    This bill would require publicly traded corporations to make specific disclosures in their initial offering statements and quarterly reports regarding the ability of their computer systems to operate after January 1, 2000.
  • S 2000.
    Sen. Bennett.  Intr. 4/29/98.  No action has been take on this bill.
    This is a bill to ensure that businesses, financial markets, and the Federal Government are taking adequate steps to resolve the year 2000 computer problem.
 

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