We’re back once more for another edition of policy watch: Capitol Hill has been slow lately, with recent demand over an immigration bill fizzling out as all measures to pass legislation failed in the Senate. As updates from our previous installment, The ‘Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act’ and the ‘Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign Authorization Act’ were both signed into law.
Here are some of the more important bills we found so far:
This bill, introduced by Representative Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania, was designed to produce warning for veterans regarding dishonest, predatory, or otherwise unlawful practices targeting individuals who are eligible for increased pension on the basis of need for regular aid and attendance, and for other purposes. This is mainly in the form of warnings on the Veteran’s Affairs website. The bill previously passed the House in November, 2017, and passed the Senate on February 15th. It is likely it will be signed into law.
Representative Ted Poe, Texas, introduced this bill to the House of Representatives in January 2017, but has recently seen activity in Congress. While the bill “ requires the Disability Rights Section of the Department of Justice to develop a program to educate state and local governments and property owners on strategies for promoting access
to public accommodations for persons with a disability.” However, It also prohibits civil action in the case of a failure to remove architectural barriers to “existing public accommodation,” and requires instead an alternative form of mediation.
The bill passed the House on February 15th by 225-192, but has not been introduced to the Senate. While it is currently unknown if this bill would pass the Senate, given its Republican status there is a higher probability of it passing.
This bill was recently placed in the House calendar, and could be considered in the House of Representatives as early as February 26th. The bill was introduced by Representative Ann Wagner of Missouri, and establishes that companies and websites are liable for prosecution and civil suit in the case that said company or site knowingly promotes sexual exploitation of children or sex trafficking.
This bill could have a potentially major impact on internet discourse and usage: currently, websites and companies are exempt from civil or criminal prosecution for the content of a user’s post. This legislation was spurred by a Senate investigative report that concluded the site Backpage knowingly faciliated sex trafficking by allowing advertising for child prostitution on their site. Opponents of the bill believe that the bill is overly vague, and that increased liability would have serious implications for free speech on the internet.
Despite this, the bill has received bipartisan support from over 30 senators and 148 representatives.
There are reports that this bill, by Representative Barry Loudermilk of Georgia, will be considered by the House soon. The text of the bill reads “to ensure that Federal financial regulators perform a comprehensive review of regulations to identify outdated or otherwise unnecessary regulatory requirements imposed on covered persons, and for other purposes.” It would require the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection to review and notate “outdated or otherwise unnecessary” financial regulations for elimination, and for said review to happen every 7 instead of 10 years.
As ostensibly a anti-regulatory piece of legislation, it’s likely this bill will meet Republican support in the House and the Senate, and may pass both chambers.
Make sure to check back in with us later in March, where we’ll see how bills and acts have fared, and if there is other, new legislation to watch!