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Keith Ellison on Technology

Democrat


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

    Close digital divide with high-tech training.

    Ellison adopted the CBC principles:

    Source: Congressional Black Caucus press release 01-CBC9 on Jan 6, 2001

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

    Ellison 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

    Stop foreign internet piracy of copyrighted materials.

    Ellison co-sponsored OPEN Act

    Congressional Summary:The Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (or OPEN Act) addresses unfair trade practices relating to infringement of copyrights and trademarks by certain Internet sites. Defines an 'Internet site dedicated to infringing activity' as a website that:

    1. is accessed through a nondomestic domain name;
    2. conducts business directed to residents of the US; and
    3. whose operator primarily uses the site to willfully infringe a copyright, or uses counterfeit marks.
    Exclusions from prosecution::
    1. if the Internet site has a practice of expeditiously removing material that is claimed to be infringing after notification by the owner of the copyright.;
    2. because the Internet site engages in an activity that would not make the operator liable for monetary relief;
    3. because distribution of copies were made without infringing a copyright or trademark.

    OnTheIssues Notes:This bill is intended as a replacement for SOPA and PIPA, the two bills which sparked an Internet protest in January 2012 and a shutdown of Wikipedia.com and google.com. Google and Facebook prefer the OPEN Act; the music and movie industries prefer SOPA and PIPA. Independent content creators, which include OnTheIssues.org and the Copyright Alliance, oppose all three bills on free speech grounds, and because large corporate website have resources to fight legal battles while small independent websites do not.

    Source: H.R.3782 12-H3782 on Jan 18, 2012

    Sponsored investing $1 billion in transportation projects.

    Ellison co-sponsored TIGER Grants Act

    Congressional Summary: TIGER Grants for Job Creation Act: Congress finds the following:

    1. The economy is struggling to recover from the recession. The unemployment rate is nearly 8%.
    2. The American Society of Civil Engineers' 2009 Report Card for America's Infrastructure estimated that there is a $549 billion shortfall in investments in roads and bridges and an additional $190 billion shortfall in investments in transit.
    3. TIGER, formally known as the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant program, is a nationwide competitive grant program that creates jobs by funding investments in transportation infrastructure.
    An additional amount for National Infrastructure Investments of $1 billion shall become available, and shall be exempt from any sequestration.

    Opponent's argument against bill:(The Reason Foundation, July 6, 2012):

    The US Constitution authorizes Congress "to regulate Commerce...among the several States." However, the five non-motorized transportation projects, the six transit projects and the six multimodal projects TIGER Grants have funded serve no national need. Some of the port, passenger rai

    Source: H.R.1124 13-H1124 on Mar 13, 2013

    Overturn FCC approval of media consolidation.

    Ellison co-sponsored overturning FCC approval of media consolidation

    Congressional Summary:Disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on February 22, 2008, relating to broadcast media ownership. Declares that the rule shall have no force or effect.

    Proponents' Argument in Favor:Sen. DORGAN: The FCC loosened the ban on cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations. We seek with this resolution of disapproval to reverse the FCC's fast march to ease media ownership rules. The FCC has taken a series of destructive actions in the past two decades that I believe have undermined the public interest. [Now they have given] a further green light to media concentration.

    The FCC voted to allow cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations in the top 20 markets, with loopholes for mergers outside of the top 20 markets. The newspapers would be allowed to buy stations ranked above fifth and above.

    The rule change was framed as a modest compromise. But make no mistake, this is a big deal. As much as 44% of the population lives in the top 20 markets. The last time the FCC tried to do this, in 2003, the Senate voted to block it.

    This rule will undercut localism and diversity of ownership around the country. Studies show that removing the ban on newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership results in a net loss in the amount of local news produced in the market as a whole. In addition, while the FCC suggests that cross-ownership is necessary to save failing newspapers, the publicly traded newspapers earn annual rates of return between 16% and 18%.

    This Resolution of Disapproval will ensure this rule change has no effect. This is again a bipartisan effort to stop the FCC from destroying the local interests that we have always felt must be a part of broadcasting.

    Source: S.J.RES.28&H.J.RES.79 2008-SJR28 on Mar 5, 2008

    2012 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Technology: Keith Ellison on other issues:
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