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Pallone & Doyle on House Passage of Four Communications and Technology Bills

Sep 23, 2020
Press Release

Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) released the following joint statement after the House of Representatives passed four communications and technology bills this week:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has proven just how crucial a reliable, fast and resilient communications network is to Americans’ well-being,” said Pallone and Doyle. “Together, the bills passed this week by the House will improve our disaster response protocols, keep tools in the hands of public safety officials to keep Americans safe in crisis, ensure better opportunities for socially disadvantaged Americans to enter the communications marketplace and support the implementation and funding of a three-digit universal dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. These are important improvements to our nation’s telecommunications system and we’re proud that they passed with such bipartisan support.”

The House of Representatives passed the following bills:

H.R. 5918, a bill to direct the Federal Communications Commission to issue reports after activation of the Disaster Information Reporting System and to make improvements to network outage reporting, was introduced by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA). It directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to issue reports following the activation of the Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) and to make improvements to network outage reporting. The bill passed on the House Floor by voice vote on Monday.

H.R. 5567, the “Measuring the Economics Driving Investments and Access for (MEDIA) Diversity Act of 2020,” introduced by Rep. Billy Long (R-MO), requires the FCC to consider market entry barriers for socially disadvantaged individuals in the communications marketplace. The bill passed on the House Floor by voice vote on Monday.

H.R. 451, the “Don't Break Up the T-Band Act of 2019,” introduced by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), repeals the requirement on the FCC to reallocate and auction the T-Band. It also requires the FCC to adopt rules limiting the use of 9-1-1 fees by States or other taxing jurisdictions to the support and implementation of 9-1-1 services and operational expenses of public safety answering points. The bill passed on the House Floor by a vote of 410-5.

S. 2661, the “National Suicide Hotline Designation Act,” a companion to the House legislation led by Reps. Chris Stewart (R-UT) and Seth Moulton (D-MA), amends the Communications Act to designate 9-8-8 as the universal dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, allows states to impose a fee to support implementation, and requires a report on ways to help LGBTQ populations, among other things. The bill passed on the House Floor by voice vote on Monday.

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