Disaster Aid Legislation Passes, Senate Continues to Process Nominations

With the President in the United Kingdom for a state visit, the House and Senate returned to Washington on Monday after the weeklong Memorial Day recess. The House immediately passed a supplemental disaster aid bill, sending it to the President for his signature. The Senate continued to process executive branch and judicial nominations, including Andrew Saul’s nomination to be Commissioner of Social Security and Heath Tarbert’s nomination to be Commodity Future Trading Commission (CFTC) chairman. Both chambers wrapped their work mid-week as many lawmakers traveled to Normandy to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day alongside the President and other world leaders.

STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act

Senators Thune (R-SD) and Schatz (D-HI) reintroduced the STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act this week, which aims to expedite 5G deployment by “setting reasonable standards for public review of infrastructure siting while recognizing the unique challenges for small municipalities,” according to the sponsors. The legislation mirrors a bill they offered last Congress that drew criticism from local governments who consider it federal overreach, but Schatz said this week that local government support will be critical for passage and he will continue to seek compromise.

House to Evaluate Communications Decency Act

Elsewhere, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Pallone (D-NJ) confirmed this week that he plans to take steps to evaluate Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) after tweeting last week that “Sec 230 is meant to enable platforms to take down harmful content. It should not be a shield for inaction.” Pallone’s comments are consistent with those of Speaker Pelosi (D-CA), who last month warned that the protection could be “in jeopardy.”

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Moves Up Comment Deadline

In a Federal Register notice posted last Friday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) moved up from August 26 to July 29 the comment deadline for an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) requesting public comments on what Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations need to be amended, revised, or repealed to facilitate safely introducing Automated Driving Systems (ADS) in commercial vehicles. The July 29 date matches the comment deadline for a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ANPRM requesting public comment on Removing Regulatory Barriers for Vehicles with Automated Driving Systems published the same day. For more information on these proceedings, click here. The FAA also announced last week that it will extend the comment deadline from June 15 to July 30 for a proposed rule to streamline and increase flexibility in the FAA’s commercial space launch and reentry regulations.

Visa Applicants Must Disclose Social Media Monikers under New Policy

Last Friday, the State Department said it will begin implementing a new policy under which visa applicants will be required to disclose their social media monikers for the purposes of background checks. The enhanced vetting is a response to a March 2017 executive order, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.”

FCC Votes to Allow Wireless Service Providers to Block Unwanted Robocalls

Earlier today, the FCC voted unanimously during its June Open Commission Meeting that wireless service providers can proactively block unwanted robocalls before they reach consumers. Under the Declaratory Ruling, these providers can block unwanted calls based on “reasonable call analytics,” as long as their customers are informed and have the opportunity to opt out of the blocking. The FCC also adopted several related initiatives during the meeting aimed at combating unwanted and illegal robocalls.

Read more in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Emerging Technologies Washington Update.