Sherrod Brown on Technology
Democratic Sr Senator; previously Representative (OH-13)
Voted YES on authorizing states to collect Internet sales taxes.
Congressional Summary: The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 authorizes each state to require all sellers with sales exceeding $1 million in the preceding calendar year to collect and remit sales and use taxes, but only if complying with the minimum simplification requirements relating to the administration of such taxes & audits.
Opponent's Argument for voting No (Cnet.com): Online retailers are objecting to S.743, saying it's unreasonable to expect small businesses to comply with the detailed--and sometimes conflicting--regulations of nearly 10,000 government tax collectors. S.743 caps years of lobbying by the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represent big box stores. President Obama also supports the bill.
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes: Sen. COLLINS. This bill rectifies a fundamental unfairness in our current system. Right now, Main Street businesses have to collect sales taxes
on every transaction, but outbecause -of-state Internet sellers don't have to charge this tax, they enjoy a price advantage over the mom-and-pop businesses. This bill would allow States to collect sales taxes on Internet sales, thereby leveling the playing field with Main Street businesses. This bill does not authorize any new or higher tax, nor does it impose an Internet tax. It simply helps ensure that taxes already owed are paid.
Opponent's Argument for voting No: Sen. WYDEN: This bill takes a function that is now vested in government--State tax collection--and outsources that function to small online retailers. The proponents say it is not going to be hard for small businesses to handle this--via a lot of new computer software and the like. It is, in fact, not so simple. There are more than 5,000 taxing jurisdictions in our country. Some of them give very different treatment for products and services that are almost identical.
Brown says, "Brown (D-OH)"
Reference: Marketplace Fairness Act;
; vote number 13-SV113
on May 6, 2013
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 2007-406
on Nov 8, 2007
Voted YES on establishing "network neutrality" (non-tiered Internet).
An amendment, sponsored by Rep Markey (D, MA) which establishes "network neutrality" by requiring that broadband network service providers have the following duties:
Proponents say that network neutrality ensures that everybody is treated alike with regard to use of the Internet,
which has been a principle applied to Internet use since it was first originated. Proponents say that without network neutrality, large corporations will pay for exclusive preferential service and hence small websites will be relegated to a second tier of inferior service. Opponents say that the Markey amendment forsakes the free market in favor of government price controls, and would chill investment in broadband network and deployment of new broadband services, and would reduce choice for internet users. Voting YES favors the network neutrality viewpoint over the price control viewpoint.
Reference: Communications, Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement Act;
Bill HR 5252 Amendment 987
; vote number 2006-239
on Jun 8, 2006
- not to block or interfere with the ability of any person to use a broadband connection to access the Internet;
- to operate its broadband network in a nondiscriminatory manner so that any person can offer or provide content and services over the broadband network with equivalent or better capability than the provider extends to itself or affiliated parties, and without the imposition of a charge for such nondiscriminatory network operation;
- if the provider prioritizes or offers enhanced quality of service to data of a particular type, to prioritize or offer enhanced quality of service to all data of that type without imposing a surcharge or other consideration for such prioritization or enhanced quality of service.
Voted YES on increasing fines for indecent broadcasting.
Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005: Expresses the sense of Congress that broadcast television station licensees should reinstitute a family viewing policy for broadcasters. Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to provide that for violators of any Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license, if a violator is determined by the FCC to have broadcast obscene, indecent, or profane material, the amount of forfeiture penalty shall not exceed $500,000 for each violation. Sets forth:
Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton [R, MI-6];
; vote number 2005-035
on Feb 16, 2005
- additional factors for determining indecency penalties;
- indecency penalties for non-licensees;
- deadlines for actions on complaints;
- additional remedies for indecent broadcasts; and
- provisions for license disqualification, revocation, or renewal consideration for violations of indecency prohibitions.
Voted NO on promoting commercial human space flight industry.
Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004: States that Congress finds that:
Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep Dana Rohrabacher [R, CA-46];
; vote number 2004-541
on Nov 20, 2004
- the goal of safely opening space to the American people and to their private commercial enterprises should guide Federal space investments, policies, and regulations;
- private industry has begun to develop commercial launch vehicles capable of carrying human beings into space;
- greater private investment in these efforts will stimulate the commercial space transportation industry;
- space transportation is inherently risky, and the future of the commercial human space flight industry will depend on its ability to continually improve its safety performance; and
- the regulatory standards governing human space flight must evolve as the industry matures so that regulations neither stifle technology development nor expose crew or space flight participants to avoidable risks as the public comes to expect greater safety for crew and space flight participants from the industry.
Voted YES on banning Internet gambling by credit card.
Internet Gambling Bill: Vote to pass a bill that would prohibit credit card companies and other financial institutions from processing Internet gambling transactions. Exempt from the ban would be state regulated or licensed transactions.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Spencer, R-AL;
Bill HR 2143
; vote number 2003-255
on Jun 10, 2003
Voted NO on allowing telephone monopolies to offer Internet access.
Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act of 2001: Vote to pass a bill that would allow the four regional Bell telephone companies to enter the high-speed Internet access market via their long-distance connections whether or not they have allowed competitors into their local markets as required under the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The bill would allow the Bells to increase the fees they charge competitors for lines upgraded for broadband services from "wholesale rates" to "just and reasonable rates." It also would also allow the Bells to charge for giving competitors access to certain rights-of-way for broadband access. Certain FCC regulatory oversight would be maintained although the phone companies' high speed services would be exempted from regulation by the states.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Tauzin, R-LA;
Bill HR 1542
; vote number 2002-45
on Feb 27, 2002
Promote internet via Congressional Internet Caucus.
Brown is a member of the Congressional Internet Caucus:
Founded in the spring of 1996, the Congressional Internet Caucus is a bipartisan group of over 150 members of the House and Senate working to educate their colleagues about the promise and potential of the Internet. The Caucus also encourages Members to utilize the Internet in communications with constituents and supports efforts to put more government documents online. The Internet Caucus Advisory Committee and the Internet Education Foundation host regular events and forums for policymakers, the press, and the public to discuss important Internet-related policy issues.
Membership in the Congressional Internet Caucus is open to any Member of Congress who pledges support for the following goals:
Source: Congressional Internet Caucus web site, NetCaucus.org 01-CIC1 on Jan 1, 2001
- Promoting growth and advancement of the Internet
- Providing a bicameral, bipartisan forum for Internet concerns to be raised
- Promoting the education of Members of Congress and their staffs about the Internet
- Promoting commerce and free flow of information on the Internet
- Advancing the United States' world leadership in the digital world
- Maximizing the openness of and participation in government by the people.
Facilitate nationwide 2-1-1 phone line for human services.
Brown 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:
- The FCC has assigned 2-1-1 as the national telephone number for information and referral on human services.
- 2-1-1 facilitates critical connections between families seeking services, including community-based and faith-based organizations.
- There are approximately 1,500,000 nonprofit organizations in the US [which would be listed in the 2-1-1 service].
- Government funding supports well-intentioned programs that are not fully utilized because of a lack of access to such programs.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Require websites to police for copyrighted materials.
Brown co-sponsored PIPA: PROTECT IP Act
Congressional Summary:Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, or the PROTECT IP Act, or PIPA (in the House, Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA) :
- Authorizes the Attorney General to seek a court order against an Internet site facilitating online piracy to require the operator to cease and desist further activities constituting copyright infringement, unauthorized trafficking of sound recordings or videos of live musical performances, or trafficking in counterfeit labels.
- Allows an intellectual property right holder harmed by a US-directed website used for infringement, to first provide a written notification identifying the site to related payment network providers and Internet advertising services requiring such entities to suspend their services.
- Requires online service providers, Internet search engines, payment network providers, and
Internet advertising services, upon receiving a court order relating to an AG action, to carry out preventative measures including withholding services from an infringing website or preventing users located in the US from accessing the infringing website.
OnTheIssues Notes: SOPA and PIPA, proponents claim, would better protect electronic copyright ("IP", or Intellectual Property). Opponents argue that SOPA and PIPA would censor the Internet. Internet users and entrepreneurs oppose the two bills; google.com and wikipedia.com held a "blackout" on Jan. 18, 2012 in protest. An alternative bill, the OPEN Act was proposed on Jan. 18 to protect intellectual property without censorship; internet businesses prefer the OPEN Act while the music and movie industries prefer SOPA and PIPA.
Source: HR3261/S968 11-S968 on May 12, 2011
Strengthen infrastructure, including rail, dams, & Internet.
Brown co-sponsored Rebuild America Act
Expresses the sense of the Senate that Congress should:
Source: S.4 13-S0004 on Jan 22, 2013
- create jobs and support businesses while improving the nation's global competitiveness by modernizing and strengthening our national infrastructure;
- invest resources in transportation corridors that promote commerce and reduce congestion;
- update and enhance the U.S. network of rail, dams, and ports;
- develop innovative financing mechanisms for infrastructure to leverage federal funds with private sector partners;
- invest in critical infrastructure to reduce energy waste and bolster investment in clean energy jobs and industries;
- invest in clean energy technologies that help free the
United States from its dependence on oil;
- eliminate wasteful tax subsidies that promote pollution and fail to reduce our reliance on foreign oil;
- spur innovation by facilitating the development of new cutting-edge broadband internet technology and improving internet access for all Americans;
- modernize, renovate, and repair elementary and secondary school buildings in order to support improved educational outcomes;
- invest in the nation's crumbling water infrastructure to protect public health and reduce pollution;
- upgrade and repair the nation's system of flood protection infrastructure to protect public safety; and
- invest in U.S. infrastructure to address vulnerabilities to natural disasters and the impacts of extreme weather.
Overturn FCC approval of media consolidation.
Brown 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
Terminate funding for the superconducting super collider.
Brown co-sponsored terminating funding for the superconducting super collider
Terminates Federal funding for the superconducting super collider project: Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the United States shall not, after the date of enactment of this Act, obligate any funds for the superconducting super collider project.
Source: H.R.1009 93-H1009 on Feb 18, 1993
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Page last updated: Dec 27, 2013