WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, chaired by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), today advanced four bipartisan bills to the full committee that improve the nation’s broadband infrastructure and strengthen public safety communications.
#SubCommTech advanced the following bills by voice vote:
H.R. 2345, the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), to direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in consultation with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, to study and report on the feasibility of designating an N11 dialing code to be used for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system.
H.R. 5709, Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement (PIRATE) Act, authored by #SubCommTech Vice Chairman Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY), to increase fines for illegal pirate operations from $10,000 per violation to $100,000 per day per violation, up to a maximum of $2,000,000, and streamline the FCC’s enforcement process and empower state and local law enforcement in combating illegal pirate operations.
H.R. 3994, the Advancing Critical Connectivity Expands Service, Small Business Resources, Opportunities, Access, and Data Based on Assessed Need and Demand (ACCESS BROADBAND) Act, authored by Rep. Tonko and Rep. Lance, to establish an Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to coordinate and track federal funding for broadband across all agencies. This is an important step in the NTIA reauthorization process the subcommittee began last year and continued with the recent #SubCommTech oversight hearing.
H.R. 4881, Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act of 2018, authored by #SubDCCP Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH) and Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA), to require the FCC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to form a task force to evaluate the best ways to meet the broadband needs of precision agriculture.
“Though each of these bills addresses a different part of our communications ecosystem, they are all timely and important topics—From public safety to closing the digital divide, “ said #SubCommTech Chairman Blackburn.
She concluded, “I’d like to thank the Members of the subcommittee for their work on these bills, and also Mr. Stewart for his passionate leadership on suicide prevention.”
A background memo, electronic copies of the legislation, and live stream of the markup can be found online here. Amendment text and votes will be available at the same link as they are posted.