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Senate Overturns Ajit Pai’s Net Neutrality Repeal

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The US Senate today voted to reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality rules, with all members of the Democratic caucus and three Republicans voting in favor of net neutrality.

The Senate approved a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would simply undo the FCC’s December 2017 vote to deregulate the broadband industry. If the CRA is approved by the House and signed by President Trump, Internet service providers would have to continue following rules that prohibit blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has scheduled his repeal to take effect on June 11. If Congress doesn’t act, the net neutrality rules and the FCC’s classification of ISPs as common carriers would be eliminated on that date.

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Kentucky’s Workforce Took A Deep Dive Due To The Opioid Crisis

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As businesses struggle to find and retain workers, the opioid crisis is making their challenges even greater.

The Kentucky Chamber, in a 2017 report, took a deep dive into Kentucky’s low workforce participation rate and found that the opioid epidemic, and incarceration due to drug charges, are leading factors in Kentucky’s lack of workers.

Five state chamber presidents sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other members of Congress, encouraging them to find a policy solution that focuses on treatment with a specific goal: getting people on the path to recovery and back into the workforce.

Following the business community’s recommendation, Sen. McConnell introduced the CAREER Act, which will ensure patients in recovery have the resources they need to return to healthy, productive lives and reenter the workforce.

The CAREER Act proposes a five-year pilot program in five states that have been hit hardest by the opioid epidemic to offer wrap-around support services for individuals transitioning out of treatment programs and back into the workforce. These services will include workforce training and transitional housing.

U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., is also championing a critical piece of legislation, the Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers Act, to make sure people have access to all the available treatments they need to beat opioid addiction. Together, these forward-thinking policies will help address the opioid epidemic from treatment through recovery and reintroduction into the workforce.

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Appropriations Committee Voted To Approve Funding for Libraries

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The full House Appropriations Committee voted to approve FY2018 funding for libraries. By a 28-22 margin, the committee approved the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) funding bill, which proposes roughly $231 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)—including $183.6 million for Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) programs, and $27 million for the Department of Education’s Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program—essentially at 2017 funding levels.

In addition to saving the IMLS, the LHHS bill includes level funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. However, it funds the Department of Education (DOE) at $66 billion—a cut of $2.4 billion from 2017, which includes the elimination of some important library-related programs, including the DOE’s Striving Readers program. ALA officials said they would work to restore it.

Meanwhile, on July 18, the House Appropriations Committee approved by a 30-21 margin the FY2018 Interior and Environment Appropriations, which includes $145 million each for the NEH and the NEA, roughly equal to FY 2017 funding levels.

The key votes come after President Trump’s call  in May to eliminate IMLS and virtually all federal funding for libraries, as well as a host of other vital programs and agencies, including the NEH and the NEA. And, it comes after Congress, earlier in May, passed a belated 2017 budget that actually upped the IMLS, NEH, and NEA budgets.

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The COVFEFE ACT

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Special rules apply to the official Twitter account of the president of the United States (@POTUS) that do not currently apply to his personal account (@realDonaldTrump). The rules are described under the Presidential Records Act, which states that certain records generated by the White House do not belong to the US president, but are instead a matter of public record.

A new bill introduced in Congress this week is looking to enforce those rules with regard to Trump’s personal account since he often uses it to make announcements altering US policy, both foreign and domestic—even though there’s a zero chance in hell anything Trump tweets will ever disappear online.

It’s called the “Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement” THE COVFEEFE ACT

https://quigley.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/quigley-introduces-covfefe-act

It was introduced by Rep. Mike Quigley, the Illinois Democrat who in March brought us the MAR-A-LAGO Act, which would require the publication of White House visitor logs. (The Trump White House has decided to keep the logs secret, reversing an Obama administration policy of publishing them automatically.)

Internet Privacy & The Senate

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In a party-line 50-48 vote Thursday, senators approved a resolution to undo sweeping privacy rules adopted by the Obama-era Federal Communications Commission. If it becomes law, it would also prevent the FCC from setting similar rules again.

The rules have not gone into effect, however ISPs must tell consumers what information is being collected and how it is being used or shared. The rules require ISPs in some cases to get users’ explicit consent, for example to sell information such as geo location or browsing history for advertising.

Republicans in Congress and at the FCC have objected to these rules, passed by the Democratic majority at the FCC in October. They have argued with major cable and telcom companies,that the rules put ISPs on unequal footing with other major data-collecting companies like Google or Facebook, which are overseen instead by the Federal Trade Commission.

Data Visualization On The 115th Congress After The 2016 Elections

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This data visualization views the changes to the new U.S. Congress after the 2016 elections.

Such as 

1.What happened to the Senate?

2.In the People’s House

3.How big is the victory for GOP?

4.Key races contribute to the GOP victory.

5. A GOP Congress

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