The OSA Public Policy staff is pleased to provide you with Washington Updates, where you will find up-to-date information on legislation, events, and other activities happening in Washington, D.C. that affect the optics and photonics community. We welcome your feedback on any of these issues. You can contact the OSA government relations team directly if you would like more information on a particular article.
Washington Updates are also sent out as a newsletter. You can receive the Washington Updates Newsletter by joining the Optics Legislative Network.
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Washington Updates - 2016
California Members of Congress Express Concerns on Export Control
OSA and other scientific societies sought out members of Congress to voice their concerns about restrictive proposed rules for export control reform released last year by the Obama Administration. In December Rep. Michael Honda (D-CA), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) sent a letter to the Administration expressing concerns over these rules. Read the letter.
The proposed rule for the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) control the export and import of defense-related articles – specifically Category XII of the U.S. Munitions List and also affect the Commerce Control List. Category XII includes optics, photonic laser commodities and components. A revised proposed rule should be released early this year, and industry will once again have an opportunity to provide comments.
Posted: January 26, 2016
Rep. Seth Moulton publishes op-ed after doing a facility tour at Optikos
After Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) did a facility tour with Optikos Corporation in October 2015, he agreed to author an op-ed “Lighting the Future of U.S. Manufacturing” that was published in the Boston Business Journal. Visits by members of Congress to a company or laboratory are a great way of highlight the importance of optics and photonics directly to your Representative. If you are interested in hosting a member of Congress at your facility or laboratory, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Op-ed posting in the Boston Business Journal (subscription required)
Op-ed full version
OSA Member Recipient of National Medal of Science
OSA Member Shirley Ann Jackson of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was among the recipients of the National Medal of Science.
STREAM Act Passes House
On 12 January, the House passed the Supporting Transparent Regulatory and Environmental Actions in Mining Act (STREAM Act) by a vote of 235 to 188.
This legislation amends Title V of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. Of note for the scientific community, the bill would require the Secretary of Interior to make available any scientific product used to develop any rule (draft, proposed, or final rule) or for “any related environmental analysis, economic assessment, policy, or guidance.” The scientific product used would have to be made publically available 90 days prior to the publishing of the rule, policy, guidance, and analysis. Additionally, the Secretary would be required to make public the raw data from any of the scientific products that received federal funds. Under the bill’s definition of scientific product, it does note that products covered under copyright laws are not considered a scientific product for the purposes of this legislation. Under the definition of raw data for the purposes of this legislation, the bill does note an exemption for data that is copyrighted or contains “personally identifiable information, sensitive intellectual property, trade secrets, or business-sensitive information”.
President Obama delivers final State of the Union to Congress
On January 12, President Obama delivered his final State of the Union address to Congress. In his remarks, the President discussed the importance of increasing investments in medical research and the desire to cure cancer. He talked about needing to provide students with more classes on computer science and math. He also mentioned climate change and the investments made in clean energy over the last few years, such as solar and wind.
Read President Obama’s State of the Union address
Read OSA CEO Elizabeth Rogan’s statement
Posted: January 13, 2016