Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 13, 2016

Posts by Anne L. Kim

441 Posts

March 25, 2015

Oregon Lawmakers Send Tax Break Package to Governor

The Oregonian reports that the Oregon state Senate on Tuesday approved a“package of property tax breaks aimed at Comcast, Google Fiber and Oregon data centers,” sending it to the governor.

The report mentions, though, that it won’t be the end of the story:

But that won’t be the final word on the matter – the Legislature will need to do additional work to satisfy Google Fiber.

It notes:

But language in the bill, intended to provide an exemption to gigabit service providers, appears to actually make them ineligible for the tax breaks. Lawmakers say they will fix the goof in a separate bill.

By Anne L. Kim Posted at 11:11 a.m.

March 18, 2015

California State Lawmaker Plans to Introduce Online Home-Sharing Bill

A California state lawmaker is planning to introduce legislation that would require online home-sharing companies to report homeowner rental information to local governments, which would make collection of certain taxes from the homeowners easier for cities, The Sacramento Bee reports.

From The Sacramento Bee story:

Setting up what could become another big fight over how much to regulate the emerging “sharing economy,” a California senator plans to introduce a bill that would make it easier for cities to collect taxes from homeowners who rent out rooms on Web-based house-sharing services such as Airbnb.

Under Senate Bill 593 by Sen. Mike McGuire, online home-sharing companies would have to make regular reports to cities and counties about which homes in their area are renting rooms, for how many nights and how much money the homeowners are collecting for the short-term rentals. That would make it easier for local governments to collect transient occupancy taxes from the homeowner.

By Anne L. Kim Posted at 3:17 p.m.

March 12, 2015

FCC Released Text of Net Neutrality Rules and Municipal Broadband Order

In case you missed it, the Federal Communications Commission released the text of their net neutrality rules earlier Thursday. Commissioners voted on the rules in a 3-2 party line vote on Feb. 26. The lengthy document totals 400 pages, including commissioner statements (Republican Ajit Pai’s dissent was 64-pages long). The rules aren’t in effect yet, though. According to an FCC senior official, the rules go into effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, except for the enhanced transparency requirements that go through review by the Office of Management and Budget. CQ subscribers can read the story here.

The FCC also released the text of their order preempting parts of Tennessee and North Carolina state law that restrict municipal broadband.

March 11, 2015

Graham Not the Only Senator Staying Away From Email

The New York Times has a story Wednesday about lawmakers who either don’t use email or do so only occasionally, mentioning Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, and as you probably know by now, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

From the story:

No single emoji seemed quite adequate to capture the collective flip-out over the admission by Senator Lindsey Graham that he has never, ever sent an email.

“I don’t know what that makes me,” Mr. Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

A card-carrying member of the Flip Phone Caucus, perhaps. A first-team all-Luddite, maybe. And, without doubt, one of a small circle of members of Congress who shape 21st-century policy and legislation but do not actually send or receive email.

March 6, 2015

Weekend Reads: Ellen Pao Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

The high-profile trial for Ellen Pao’s gender discrimination lawsuit against her former employer, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers , is ongoing and if you’re looking for some weekend reading, here are some stories to catch up and look ahead.

On Thursday The New York Times had an overview and notes the broader issue here:

The money she might win if Kleiner is found liable is probably trivial in a world where start-up geniuses are worth billions. What is really under examination in this trial is the question of why there are so few women in leadership positions in Silicon Valley. At stake is any hope that the tech world can claim to be a progressive place, or even a fair one.

The story also has an interesting note about the jury:

The men and women sitting in judgment of all this behavior look nothing like what Silicon Valley would consider a jury of its peers. Instead of being young, white and male, with a sprinkling of Asians — what critics say is the furthest limit in Silicon Valley in terms of diversity — the jury is half female and ethnically diverse. Testimony ended abruptly Thursday afternoon when one of the jurors had a family emergency.

Reuters reported Thursday that Ellen Pao’s testimony “will likely make or break the case.”

From Reuters:

Questioning Pao provides the best opportunity for each side to clinch their arguments, but it is also extremely risky, according to employment law attorneys following the trial.

The San Jose Mercury News is liveblogging the trial and a story Thursday from the papers’ SiliconBeat blog reports: “The investigator Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers hired in late 2011 to investigate claims of its women employees being mistreated at the firm took the stand Thursday in the venture capital firm’s high-profile sex discrimination trial.”

Venture capitalist John Doerr testified earlier this week and you can find stories here, here and here.

March 3, 2015

Fun Fact: ‘Supernova Mikulski’

At least a couple stories on Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski’s, D-Md., announcement of her retirement on Monday remind us that a supernova was named in her honor a few years ago.

From Reuters: “In 2012, when NASA researchers in Baltimore discovered the fleeting glimmer of an exploding star, they named it ‘Supernova Mikulski,’ after one of their chief congressional patrons.”

A 2012 story by The Associated Press reported some details about the supernova and more:

Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski is known for her outspoken support of space exploration.

On Thursday, she will have a supernova named after her at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

From a 2012 Heard on the Hill post:

The astronomers found Supernova Mikulski using the Hubble Space Telescope. About 7.4 billion light-years from Earth, it is not visible to the naked eye.

Space researchers have an affinity for Mikulski, which should come as no surprise because she’s the Senate appropriator charged with the NASA budget.

The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore will also be renamed in Mikulski’s honor. Data collected by both the Hubble and Webb telescopes will be held at the institute.

Mikulski is the longest-serving woman in Congress, the first woman to helm the Senate Appropriations Committee and has been the top Democrat on the Commerce-Justice-Science subcommittee for years.

March 2, 2015

The Week Ahead: American Cable Association Summit and Budget, Cybersecurity Hearings

The American Cable Association holds its summit and congressional committees hold cybersecurity hearings as well as budget hearings on NASA, the Federal Communications Commission and the Commerce Department this week.


Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology discusses net neutrality at the American Enterprise Institute.

The Center for Strategic & International Studies hosts a panel event on the Internet of Things and the transportation industry.

The German Marshall Fund of the United States hosts an event titled “Internet Freedom 2.1: Lessons from Asia’s Developing Democracies.”


A House Appropriations subcommittee holds a Commerce Department budget hearing.

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee has a cybersecurity hearing.


The American Cable Association holds its summit, which continues on Thursday.

The Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Innovation Alliance, the Medical Device Manufacturers Association, and the National Venture Capital Association host a patent event.

A House Appropriations subcommittee holds a NASA budget hearing.

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing titled “Reauthorization of the Federal Communications Commission: The FCC’s FY 2016 Budget Request.”

A House Homeland Security subcommittee holds a hearing titled “Industry Perspectives on the President’s Cybersecurity Information Sharing Proposal.”

New America hosts an event on technology and disability.


The House Intelligence Committee holds a cybersecurity hearing.

A Senate Appropriations subcommittee holds a hearing on NASA’s fiscal 2016 budget request.


USTelecom hosts a cybersecurity event.

February 27, 2015

Weekly Wrapup: Net Neutrality and City-Owned Broadband

The Federal Communications Commission took historic action this week to claim broader regulatory authority over broadband service providers, reclassifying broadband service under a 1934 law that governs common carriers. Your Weekly Wrapup includes posts on the FCC’s net neutrality rules, city-owned broadband and a tax bill in Oregon that state lawmakers hope will attract Google Fiber and others.

FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules

Net Neutrality Meeting Highlights

Walden Wants “Better Path” on Net Neutrality

FCC Republicans Call for Delay in Net Neutrality Vote

Twitter Praises Wheeler’s Net Neutrality Proposal

Net Neutrality Wasn’t the Only Item the FCC Voted on Thursday

Oregon Senate Panel Advances Tax Bill that Lawmakers Hope Will Attract Google Fiber and Others

A Look at the FCC’s Rules Seeking to Improve 911 Call Location Accuracy

Oregon Senate Panel Advances Tax Bill that Lawmakers Hope Will Attract Google Fiber and Others

An Oregon state Senate committee approved legislation Thursday that could “resolve years of dispute over state taxes on telecommunications companies,” The Oregonian reports. The measure has drawn objection from cities, according to the newspaper.

From The Oregonian:

Lawmakers hope the bill would open the door for Google Fiber to bring its hyperfast Internet service to the Portland area and prompt Amazon and Apple to resume expansion of data centers they operate in central and eastern Oregon.

By capping some taxes and exempting data centers from others, though, the new law would also limit future revenues to local governments that are reliant on property taxes. That has therefore sparked skepticism, particularly of the tax cuts for existing telecom providers.

February 26, 2015

Net Neutrality Rules Wasn’t the Only Item the FCC Voted on Thursday

The big news Thursday was the Federal Communications Commission’s vote of net neutrality rules, so you might have missed another significant action the commission took Thursday. It pre-empted portions of state law in North Carolina and Tennessee that petitioners have argued restrict their ability to expand municipal broadband offerings.

That action responds to petitions submitted this past summer by Chattanooga, Tennessee’s Electric Power Board, which runs its network, and the government of Wilson, N.C., to preempt state laws they say prevent them from geographically expanding their broadband offerings.

Full story

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