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John Larson on Technology

Democratic Representative (CT-1)


Voted NO on protecting cyber security by sharing data with government.

Congressional Summary:

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:

Opponent's Argument for voting No:
Reference: Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act; Bill H.R.624 ; vote number 13-HV117 on Apr 18, 2013

Voted NO on terminating funding for National Public Radio.

    Congressional Summary: To prohibit Federal funding of National Public Radio and the use of Federal funds to acquire radio content, including:
  1. broadcasting, transmitting, and programming over noncommercial educational radio broadcast Corporation for Public Broadcasting was created in 1967. Today, we have multiple listening choices; NPR [has become an] absurd anachronism. It is time to move forward and to let National Public Radio spread its wings and support itself.

    Opponent's Argument for voting No:
    [Rep. Waxman, D-CA]: This bill will cripple National Public Radio, public radio stations, and programming that is vital to over 27 million Americans. We are now voting to deny the public access to one of our Nation's most credible sources of news coverage. This bill does not save a penny. This legislation does not serve any fiscal purpose, but it does serve an ugly ideological one. This legislation is not about reforming NPR. It is about punishing NPR. It is vindictive, it is mean-spirited, it is going to hit the smallest stations in rural areas particularly hard. Public radio is indispensable for access to news that's hard to get, especially where broadband service is limited.

    Reference: Prohibit Federal Funds for NPR; Bill H.1076 ; vote number 11-HV192 on Mar 17, 2011

    Voted YES on delaying digital TV conversion by four months.

    Congressional Summary:Amends the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act to delay the transition of television broadcasting from analog to digital to June 13, 2009. Requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to extend for a 116-day period the licenses for recovered spectrum, including the construction requirements associated with those licenses.

    Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. RICK BOUCHER (D, VA-9): Fully 6.5 million households are totally unprepared for the transition on February 17; these 6.5 million households will lose all of their television service, and that number represents about 5.7% of the total American television viewing public. If almost 6%of the nation's households lose all of their television service, I think that most people would declare that the digital television transition has been a failure. In recognition of that reality, this legislation would delay the transition until June 12.

    Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. JOE LINUS BARTON (R, TX-6): The majority is trying to fix a problem that I do not think really exists. We have sent out 33 million coupons: 22 million of those coupons have been redeemed, and 11 million coupons are outstanding. The outstanding coupons are being redeemed, I think, by about 500,000 a week, something like that. In my opinion, you could keep the hard date and not have a problem, but if you think there is a problem, it is not from lack of money. We have appropriated $1.3 billion. About half of that is still in the Treasury, so the redemption rate is only about 52%. Even though we are delaying this until June 12 if this bill becomes law, according to the acting chairman of the FCC, 61% of the television stations in America are going to go ahead and convert to digital. 143 television stations already have converted, and in those areas where they have converted, I am not aware that there has been a huge problem.

    Reference: DTV Delay Act; Bill S.352 ; vote number 2009-H052 on Mar 4, 2009

    Voted NO on retroactive immunity for telecoms' warrantless surveillance.

    Proponents argument for voting YEA: Rep. ETHERIDGE. This bipartisan bill provides the critical tools that our intelligence community needs to ensure the safety of our Nation--to authorize surveillance in the case of an emergency situation, provided that they return to the FISA court within 7 days to apply for a warrant.

    Rep. LANGEVIN. One issue that has been repeatedly addressed is whether telecommunications companies should be granted immunity against pending lawsuits for their involvement in the earlier surveillance program. This legislation preserves a role for the U.S. court system to decide independently whether the telecommunications companies acted in good faith. Only after that review would the courts decide whether the telecommunications companies deserve any form of liability protection.

    Opponents argument for voting NAY: Rep. LEVIN. I oppose this bill because of the provisions that would confer retroactive immunity on the telecommunications companies that participated in the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program. It sets a dangerous precedent for Congress to approve a law that dismisses ongoing court cases simply on the basis that the companies can show that the administration told them that its warrantless surveillance program was legal. A program is not legal just because the administration claims that it is.

    Rep. NADLER. The House must decide today whether to uphold the rule of law & the supremacy of the Constitution or whether to protect & reward the lawless behavior of the administration and of the telecommunications companies that participated in its clearly illegal program of spying on innocent Americans. The bill is a fig-leaf, granting blanket immunity to the telecom companies for illegal acts. It denies people whose rights were violated their fair day in court, and it denies the American people their right to have the actions of the administration subjected to fair & independent scrutiny.

    Reference: FISA Amendments Act; Bill HR6304 ; vote number 2008-437 on Jun 20, 2008

    Voted YES on $23B instead of $4.9B for waterway infrastructure.

    Vote on overriding Pres. Bush's veto. The bill reauthorizes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA): to provide for the conservation and development of water and related resources, to authorize the Secretary of the Army to construct various projects for improvements to rivers and harbors of the United States. The bill authorizes flood control, navigation, and environmental projects and studies by the Army Corps of Engineers. Also authorizes projects for navigation, ecosystem or environmental restoration, and hurricane, flood, or storm damage reduction in 23 states including Louisiana.

    Veto message from President Bush:

    This bill lacks fiscal discipline. I fully support funding for water resources projects that will yield high economic and environmental returns. Each year my budget has proposed reasonable and responsible funding, including $4.9 billion for 2008, to support the Army Corps of Engineers' main missions. However, this authorization bill costs over $23 billion. This is not fiscally responsible, particularly when local communities have been waiting for funding for projects already in the pipeline. The bill's excessive authorization for over 900 projects and programs exacerbates the massive backlog of ongoing Corps construction projects, which will require an additional $38 billion in future appropriations to complete. This bill does not set priorities. I urge the Congress to send me a fiscally responsible bill that sets priorities.

    Reference: Veto override on Water Resources Development Act; Bill Veto override on H.R. 1495 ; vote number 2007-1040 on Nov 6, 2007

    Voted YES on establishing "network neutrality" (non-tiered Internet).

    An amendment, sponsored by Rep Markey (D, MA) which establishes "network neutrality" by requiring that broadband network service providers have the following duties:
    1. not to block or interfere with the ability of any person to use a broadband connection to access the Internet;
    2. to operate its broadband network in a nondiscriminatory manner so that any person can offer or provide content and services over the broadband network with equivalent or better capability than the provider extends to itself or affiliated parties, and without the imposition of a charge for such nondiscriminatory network operation;
    3. if the provider prioritizes or offers enhanced quality of service to data of a particular type, to prioritize or offer enhanced quality of service to all data of that type without imposing a surcharge or other consideration for such prioritization or enhanced quality of service.
    Proponents say that network neutrality ensures that everybody is treated alike with regard to use of the Internet, which has been a principle applied to Internet use since it was first originated. Proponents say that without network neutrality, large corporations will pay for exclusive preferential service and hence small websites will be relegated to a second tier of inferior service. Opponents say that the Markey amendment forsakes the free market in favor of government price controls, and would chill investment in broadband network and deployment of new broadband services, and would reduce choice for internet users. Voting YES favors the network neutrality viewpoint over the price control viewpoint.
    Reference: Communications, Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement Act; Bill HR 5252 Amendment 987 ; vote number 2006-239 on Jun 8, 2006

    Voted YES on increasing fines for indecent broadcasting.

    Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005: Expresses the sense of Congress that broadcast television station licensees should reinstitute a family viewing policy for broadcasters. Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to provide that for violators of any Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license, if a violator is determined by the FCC to have broadcast obscene, indecent, or profane material, the amount of forfeiture penalty shall not exceed $500,000 for each violation. Sets forth:
    1. additional factors for determining indecency penalties;
    2. indecency penalties for non-licensees;
    3. deadlines for actions on complaints;
    4. additional remedies for indecent broadcasts; and
    5. provisions for license disqualification, revocation, or renewal consideration for violations of indecency prohibitions.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton [R, MI-6]; Bill H.R.310 ; vote number 2005-035 on Feb 16, 2005

    Voted NO on banning Internet gambling by credit card.

    Internet Gambling Bill: Vote to pass a bill that would prohibit credit card companies and other financial institutions from processing Internet gambling transactions. Exempt from the ban would be state regulated or licensed transactions.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Spencer, R-AL; Bill HR 2143 ; vote number 2003-255 on Jun 10, 2003

    Voted YES on allowing telephone monopolies to offer Internet access.

    Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act of 2001: Vote to pass a bill that would allow the four regional Bell telephone companies to enter the high-speed Internet access market via their long-distance connections whether or not they have allowed competitors into their local markets as required under the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The bill would allow the Bells to increase the fees they charge competitors for lines upgraded for broadband services from "wholesale rates" to "just and reasonable rates." It also would also allow the Bells to charge for giving competitors access to certain rights-of-way for broadband access. Certain FCC regulatory oversight would be maintained although the phone companies' high speed services would be exempted from regulation by the states.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Tauzin, R-LA; Bill HR 1542 ; vote number 2002-45 on Feb 27, 2002

    Chief information officer to digitize federal government.

    Larson adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

    Performance-Based Government
    The strong anti-government sentiments of the early 1990s have subsided, but most Americans still think government is too bureaucratic, too centralized, and too inefficient.

    In Washington and around the country, a second round of “reinventing government” initiatives should be launched to transform public agencies into performance-based organizations focused on bottom-line results. Many public services can be delivered on a competitive basis among public and private entities with accountability for results. Public-private partnerships should become the rule, not the exception, in delivering services. Civic and voluntary groups, including faith-based organizations, should play a larger role in addressing America’s social problems.

    When the federal government provides grants to states and localities to perform public services, it should give the broadest possible administrative flexibility while demanding and rewarding specific results. Government information and services at every level should be thoroughly “digitized,” enabling citizens to conduct business with public agencies online.

    Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC8 on Aug 1, 2000

    Promote internet via Congressional Internet Caucus.

    Larson is a member of the Congressional Internet Caucus:

    Founded in the spring of 1996, the Congressional Internet Caucus is a bipartisan group of over 150 members of the House and Senate working to educate their colleagues about the promise and potential of the Internet. The Caucus also encourages Members to utilize the Internet in communications with constituents and supports efforts to put more government documents online. The Internet Caucus Advisory Committee and the Internet Education Foundation host regular events and forums for policymakers, the press, and the public to discuss important Internet-related policy issues.

    Source: Congressional Internet Caucus web site, NetCaucus.org 01-CIC1 on Jan 1, 2001

    Facilitate nationwide 2-1-1 phone line for human services.

    Larson co-sponsored facilitating nationwide 2-1-1 phone line for human services

    A bill to facilitate nationwide availability of 2-1-1 telephone service for information and referral on human services & volunteer services. Congress makes the following findings:

    1. The FCC has assigned 2-1-1 as the national telephone number for information and referral on human services.
    2. 2-1-1 facilitates critical connections between families seeking services, including community-based and faith-based organizations.
    3. There are approximately 1,500,000 nonprofit organizations in the US [which would be listed in the 2-1-1 service].
    4. Government funding supports well-intentioned programs that are not fully utilized because of a lack of access to such programs.
    5. A national cost-benefit analysis estimates a net value to society of a national 2-1-1 system approaching $130,000,000 in the first year alone.
    6. While 69% of the population has access to 2-1-1 telephone service from a land line in 41 States, inadequate funding prevents access to that telephone service throughout each of the States.
    7. 2-1-1 telephone service facilitates the availability of a single repository where comprehensive data on all community services is collected & maintained.

    Introductory statement by Sponsor:

    Sen. CLINTON: In the immediate aftermath of the devastation of September 11, most people did not know where to turn for information about their loved ones. Fortunately for those who knew about it, 2-1-1 was already operating in Connecticut, and it was critical in helping identify the whereabouts of victims, connecting frightened children with their parents, providing information on terrorist suspects, and linking ready volunteers with victims.

    Every single American should have a number they can call to cut through the chaos of an emergency. That number is 2-1-1. It's time to make our citizens and our country safer by making this resource available nationwide.

    Source: Calling for 2-1-1 Act (S.211 and H.R.211) 07-HR211 on Jan 9, 2007

    Require websites to police for copyrighted materials.

    Larson co-sponsored SOPA: Stop Online Piracy Act

    Congressional Summary:Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA (in the Senate, Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act or the PROTECT IP Act, or PIPA) :

    OnTheIssues Notes: SOPA and PIPA, proponents claim, would better protect electronic copyright ("IP", or Intellectual Property). Opponents argue that SOPA and PIPA would censor the Internet. Internet users and entrepreneurs oppose the two bills; google.com and wikipedia.com held a "blackout" on Jan. 18, 2012 in protest. An alternative bill, the OPEN Act was proposed on Jan. 18 to protect intellectual property without censorship; internet businesses prefer the OPEN Act while the music and movie industries prefer SOPA and PIPA.

    Source: HR3261/S968 11-H3261 on Oct 26, 2011

    2012 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Technology: John Larson on other issues:
    CT Gubernatorial:
    Dan Malloy
    Tom Foley
    CT Senatorial:
    Chris Murphy
    Richard Blumenthal



    Lame-duck session 2012:
    KY-4: Thomas Massie(R)
    MI-11:Dave Curson(D)
    NJ-9: Donald Payne Jr.(D)
    WA-1: Suzan DelBene(D)

    Re-seated Former Reps:
    AZ-1: Ann Kirkpatrick(D)
    AZ-5: Matt Salmon(R)
    FL-8: Alan Grayson(D)
    IL-11:Bill Foster(D)
    NH-1: Carol Shea-Porter(D)
    NV-3: Dina Titus(D)
    NY-24:Dan Maffei(D)
    TX-36:Steve Stockman(R)

    2013 Resignations and Replacements:
    AL-1:Jo Bonner(R,resigned)
    IL-2:Jesse Louis Jackson(D,resigned)
    IL-2:Robin Kelly(D)
    MA-5:Ed Markey(D,to Senate)
    MA-8:Stephen Lynch(D)
    MO-8:Jo Ann Emerson(R,resigned)
    MO-8:Jason Smith(R,elected June 2013)
    SC-1:Tim Scott(R,resigned)
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    CA-2: Jared Huffman
    CA-7: Ami Bera
    CA-15:Eric Swalwell
    CA-24:Julia Brownley
    CA-29:Tony Cardenas
    CA-35:Gloria Negrete McLeod
    CA-36:Raul Ruiz
    CA-41:Mark Takano
    CA-47:Alan Lowenthal
    CA-51:Juan Vargas
    CA-52:Scott Peters
    CT-5: Elizabeth Esty
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    FL-22:Lois Frankel
    FL-26:Joe Garcia
    HI-2: Tulsi Gabbard
    IL-8: Tammy Duckworth
    IL-10:Brad Schneider
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    MN-8: Rick Nolan
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    Page last updated: Jun 21, 2013