The House of Representatives passed four communications and technology bills last week. Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) stated: “Together, the bills passed by the House will improve our disaster response protocols and keep tools in the hands of public safety officials to keep Americans safe in crisis. They called the measures, “important improvements to our nation’s telecommunications system.”
Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Republican Leader Bob Latta (R-OH) said: “The bipartisan bills make important strides to improve the communications resources for all Americans. 21st century problems require 21st century solutions, and today’s bills take steps toward preparing communities for issues that may come their way. We urge the Senate to take swift action.”
The House of Representatives passed the following bills:
H.R. 5918, the “Emergency Reporting Act,” introduced by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA), directs the FCC to issue reports after activation of the Disaster Information Reporting System and to make improvements to network outage reporting.
H.R. 5567, the “Measuring the Economics Driving Investments and Access for (MEDIA) Diversity Act of 2020,” introduced by Rep. Billy Long (R-MO), requires the FCC to consider market entry barriers for socially disadvantaged individuals in the communications marketplace.
H.R. 451, the “Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act of 2019,” introduced by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), repeals the requirement on the FCC to reallocate and auction the T-Band. It also requires the Commission to adopt rules limiting the use of 911 fees by states or other taxing jurisdictions to the support and implementation of 911 services and operational expenses of public safety answering points.
S. 2661, the “National Suicide Hotline Designation Act,” a companion to the House legislation led by Reps. Chris Stewart (R-UT) and Seth Moulton (D-MA), amends the Communications Act to designate 988 as the universal dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, allows states to impose a fee to support implementation, and requires a report on ways to help LGBTQ populations, among other things.
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