Top Search on POPVOX this week: "HR25"

Most active bill on POPVOX this week:

H.R. 699 EMAIL PRIVACY ACT


 

 

Trade secrets bill headed to President Obama


House overwhelmingly passed trade secrets bill 410-2, with Reps. Amash and Massie in opposition. Senate passed the bill earlier this month and now it heads to President Obama.

The bill allows companies to sue entities for trade secret theft in federal court. Currently, only the Justice Department can sue on allegations of trade secrets theft.

S. 1890 DEFEND TRADE SECRETS ACT OF 2016
Sponsor: Sen. Orrin Hatch [R, UT]

House chose to take up Senate-passed bill, rather than similar measure from Rep. Doug Collins [R, GA-9].

So what is a trade secret, anyway?

Information that someone has taken reasonable measures to protect which derives independent economic value from not being generally know.

Examples include: designs, negative information, computer software, customer lists, non-public financial information, cost and pricing information, manufacturing information, confidential information about business opportunities, and certain personnel information.

Trade secrets are a form of intellectual property. However, other common forms such as patents, copyrights, and trademarks all have federal civil causes of actions as well as federal registration. Currently, trade secrets are protected civilly at the state level only. (See: Jones Day)

Obama administration strongly supported the measure, highlighting the need for effective protection of trade secrets and commending lawmakers on bipartisan effort to formulate the bill. (See: Statement of Administration Policy)

President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law, with some describing the new protections as  "the most significant expansion of federal law in intellectual property in 70 years."


this week house passed hr 699

House passed e-mail privacy protections bill


House unanimously passed most co-sponsored bill this Congress — bill to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, law that allows law enforcement to access emails without a warrant if the emails are at least six months old. Bill would remove six month distinction, extending privacy protections to older emails.

H.R. 699 EMAIL PRIVACY ACT
Sponsor: Rep. Kevin Yoder [R, KS-3]

The bill would not alter law enforcement's ability to subpoena individual targets of an investigation for emails or other electronic communications. It would, however, prohibit law enforcement from obtaining such communications from companies like Google or Microsoft.

During debate, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte said that when the law was written in 1986, "Tweets were the sounds made by birds in the trees and clouds were found only in the skies." 

Bill sponsor Rep. Jared Polis [D, CO-2] echoed these sentiments, "When ECPA was written, the internet as we understand it did not exist."  


House voted to disapprove DOL's "Fiduciary Rule" 

House voted 234-183 to disapprove a rule from the Department of Labor requiring financial advisors to disclose any incentive agreements or conflicts of interest they have with financial products they recommend, known as the fiduciary rule.

H.J.RES. 88 DISAPPROVING THE RULE SUBMITTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR RELATING TO THE DEFINITION OF THE TERM "FIDUCIARY"
Sponsor: Rep. David Roe [R, TN-1]

The rule requires brokers to act in the “best interest” of their clients when handling retirement accounts. This rule is meant to protect workers from conflicting investment advice and improve disclosures. Opponents of the rule say that it would discourage financial firms from serving low-income clients.

The CRA (Congressional Review Act) gives Congress sixty “session days” to overturn a rule issued by the Executive branch. (See: Congressional Research Service)

Disapproval resolutions are “rarely used and almost always veto-ed,” but have become more common in the current Congress, with resolutions to disapprove environmental regulations passing both the House and Senate (and encountering the Obama veto pen.) 

A similar resolution of disapproval has been introduced in the Senate.

S.J.RES. 33 JOINT RESOLUTION PROVIDING FOR CONGRESSIONAL DISAPPROVAL UNDER CHAPTER 8 OF TITLE 5, UNITED STATES CODE, OF THE RULE SUBMITTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR RELATING TO THE DEFINITION OF THE TERM "FIDUCIARY" AND THE CONFLICT OF INTEREST RULES WITH RESPECT TO RETIREMENT INVESTMENT ADVICE
Sponsor: Sen. Johnny Isakson [R, GA]


Senate Appropriations stalled


Appropriations process stalled in the Senate with two failed cloture votes on $37.5B energy and water spending bill. Disagreement arose over proposed amendment to prevent the government from using federal funds to purchase heavy water from Iran's nuclear program.

Senate failed to invoke cloture on the bill in two votes: first 50-46 on Wednesday and then 52-43 on Thursday — falling short of the 60 votes needed to end debate.  Procedural refresher: Senate cannot vote on the bill until cloture is invoked or until lawmakers agree on how to handle the heavy water amendment offered by Sen. Tom Cotton [R, AR].

Lawmakers are divided over whether the amendment is "germane to the bill," meaning it is relevant to the appropriating of fiscal year 2017 funds.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said he was "gratified" with the Senate vote. "We've made clear our commitment to a principle that ideologically motivated policy riders are not appropriate for appropriations bills."


Bipartisan Senators unveiled revised criminal justice bill


Bipartisan group of Senators announced new progress on "criminal justice overhaul package." Senate Judiciary approved the bill last year by a vote of 15-5, but disagreements among lawmakers prevented the bill from seeing the Senate floor.

S. 2123 SENTENCING REFORM AND CORRECTIONS ACT OF 2015
Sponsor: Sen. Chuck Grassley [R, IA]

The revised bill still contains provisions to reduce sentences for non-violent offenders but now incorporates new provisions aimed at ensuring violent offenders do not benefit from the bill, such as disqualifying violent criminals from reduced sentencing options. 

Revisions also ensure inmates convicted under the Armed Career Criminal Act do not qualify for reduced sentences, as well as increase mandatory sentences for offenses involving the opioid fentanyl.


Defense Bill Advanced #FY17NDAA

On Thursday, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) marked up and passed the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act, the "NDAA" (H.R. 4909). The NDAA authorizes a total of $610.5 billion in mandatory and discretionary spending for national defense, including $58.8 billion for overseas operations.  See: Bill Summary

Amendments include:

  • Requiring a database of reported military hazing events, Harry Lew Military Hazing Accountability and Prevention Act (H.R. 5060)
  • Prohibiting the housing unaccompanied alien children on US military installations located
    inside the US.
  • Delisting the Lesser Prarie Chicken and the American Burying Beetle from the Endangered Species List for two years.
  • Extending military family leave
  • Requiring women to register with Selective Service

See full amendment list.


New Bills on the Block


Legislative Lowdown: States Edition

  • new bill in New York would allow the police to examine drivers' phones to determine use at the time of an accident — similar measure recently failed in New Jersey and Maryland, still being considered in Vermont.
  • North Carolina lawmakers introduced bill to repeal law that restricted restroom use to the sex listed on birth certificates, rather than that of gender identity.
  • California Assembly introduced bill that would give landlords the power to prohibit smoking inside rental units.
  • Michigan lawmakers advanced bill to stop automatically treating 17-year-olds criminal offenders as adults.

#ICYMI


Weekend Reads

Lessons from Prince’s legacy and struggle with digital music markets – Zach Graves, TechDIrt

Defense Authorization and Appropriations Bills: FY1970-FY2016
– Congressional Research Service (CRS)

GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS: Opportunities to Reduce Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication and Achieve Other Financial Benefits – Government Accountability Office (GAO)


Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

– Team POPVOX

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