Digital Signature Bills
HR 2991 & S 2107

HR 2991: Electronic Commerce Enhancement Act of 1997.

Sponsors.  Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Billy Tauzin (R-LA), Romero Barcelo, Boucher (D-VA),  Dooley, Evans, Frost, P. Kennedy, Kind, Steve Largent (R-OK), C. Peterson, Sawyer, Adam Smith, Stabenow, Ellen Tauscher (D-CA).

Summary.   The Electronic Commerce Enhancement Act of 1997 directs the Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information (the head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration) of the Department of Commerce to conduct an ongoing study of and report to specified committees concerning the enhancement of electronic commerce due to the use of digital signatures.  The Act also directs the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to establish a method for each Federal agency to make its forms available electronically.  The Act further provides for making payments electronically pursuant to such forms.

The Act sets forth provisions concerning guidelines and standards for digital signatures and certificates.

The Act permits employers to store forms electronically if such forms are submitted electronically.

Status.  No action has been taken on this bill.

Legislative History with Links to Related Materials.

S 2107: Government Paperwork Elimination Act.

Sponsors. Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-MI), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

Summary.  This bill would require 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.

A main purpose of the bill is to promote the development of electronic commerce by furthering the acceptance and use of digital signatures.  For digital signatures to become become fully accepted in the digital marketplace they must be used and accepted by the federal government.  This bill mandates federal use of digital signatures.

Status.  A substitute version of the bill was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee unanimously by voice vote on July 29, 1998.  On October 2, it was attached to the Internet Tax Freedom Act.  It will likely be approved on October 6.

Legislative History with Links to Related Materials.