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November Legislative Update from NCISS

  • November 17, 2010
  • by Larry Sabbath

Next week Congress will return to Washington for a lame duck session. It is not clear how much work will get done.  Appropriations and tax bill are the only must pass bills during the session in addition to the always unpopular increase in the debt ceiling. How much else will be accomplished is unclear. Democrats may want to try to enact some of their priority issues while they still control the House. But Republicans should be in no mood to cooperate, as they may want to hold up a great deal of legislation until January when they will set the agenda in the House.

Several bills of concern to the investigative community remain under consideration in Congress, although their fate is not clear. These include the caller ID bills, which have passed both houses in different forms, and data breach legislation. The security industry must watch for a possible last-ditch attempt to enact the Employee Free Choice Act. The bill would have no chance next year, so there are rumors that there may be an attempt to pass the bill before Congress adjourns for the year.

With Republicans taking control of the House next year, they will have the opportunity to choose both the leaders and members of committees. This will allow them to set the agenda and also increase legislative staff. Major changes are in store for several committees which consider relevant legislation.

The Energy & Commerce Committee, where much privacy legislation originates, will see substantial upheaval. Politico reported that 12 members of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology & the Internet won't be returning. The Chairman of the Subcommittee, Rick Boucher (D-VA), was defeated. And it is not clear who will chair the full committee. There is some speculation that Fred Upton (R-MI) will vie for the job. Rep. Stearns (R-FL) is a longtime advocate for privacy legislation and may replace Rep. Boucher on the subcommittee. Texas Representative Joe Barton is currently the top Republican on the Committee. He cannot become Chairman under current term limit rules but can apply for a waiver.

The House Ways & Means Committee will also see an overhaul. The likely chairman will be Dave Camp (R-MI), who has been supportive of NCISS positions in the past. But Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), Chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee, lost his election. He has not pushed for legislation to restrict access to Social Security numbers during his tenure.

This legislative update is from the National Council of Investigative & Security Services (NCISS), which has served private investigator and security professionals for over 36 years. It was prepared for PInow.com by NCISS Legislative Advocate Larry Sabbath.

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