Current Legislative Update:

  • March 2015

    March 2015 Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization in CongressThe 114th Congress is considering reauthorization of the…

Legislative Updates

Keeping you up to date on policy action from the presidential administration and the U.S. Congress.

March 2015

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» Education

Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization in Congress
The 114th Congress is considering reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The House rewrite of the bill that has provided a framework for education, allows states more flexibility in their K-12 requirements, including how Title I dollars are spent and teacher accountability. Several education policy advocates have come together to submit recommendations on how Congress should move forward in providing children with access to quality education.

» Energy, Transportation, and Environment

President Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline
Following through with his promises on the Keystone XL pipeline, President Barack Obama issued the third veto of his presidency on the recent Keystone bill. President Obama has generally been quiet on the Keystone Pipeline. It’s predicted that Congress will not be able to overturn the veto with a vote in both chambers.

Read more:
Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline, Leaving it in Limbo (Reuters)
Obama: Keystone Pipeline Bill ‘Has Earned My Veto’ (USA Today)

>> Emergency Preparedness/Homeland Security

Department of Homeland Security on the Cusp of Shutting Down
A measure funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was stalled by Senate Democrats, in an attempt to prevent President Obama’s immigration plan from being defunded. A Texas federal court judge already issued an injunction preventing the immigration plan from taking effect while 26 states challenges the legality of the President’s immigration plan. Congress was able to approve a bill that will keep the DHS for seven days, but members will be returning to this issue to prevent a full shutdown.

Read more:
McConnell offers DHS bill free of immigration measures (USA Today)
Mitch McConnell Announces a Vote on Clean DHS Funding Is Coming (National Journal)

>> Law, Justice, and Ethics

President’s Task Force on Policing Releases Report
The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing released their interim report which included written testimonies from stakeholders, civil rights organizations, and private citizens with recommendations on how to better improve policing strategies. The Task Force was created to address policing issues and determine how police can better improve their relationship with the public, increase public safety and trust, and address the needs of police officers. The report can be found here.

>> Telecommunication, Science, and Technology

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Moves to Regulate Internet Like Public Utility
In a plan that was approved 3-2 by the FCC, Chairman Tom Wheeler announced the FCC will begin regulating the internet as a public utility under Title II of the Communications Act, a position the President has mentioned he supports. Wheeler’s plan includes banning paid prioritization, which provides faster internet lanes for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) willing to pay for it, no rate regulation, and other provisions aimed at maintaining a free and open internet.

Read more:
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler: This Is How We Will Ensure Net Neutrality (Wired Magazine)
F.C.C. Net Neutrality Rules Clear Hurdle as Republicans Concede to Obama (New York Times)
Landmark Internet Rules Approved (The Hill)

What’s Happening on the Hill?

  • House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, “Joint Hearing of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees to Receive the Legislative Presentation of the Veterans of Foreign Wars,” March 4, 2015
  • House Committee on Natural Resources, Oversight Hearing on “Examining the Department of the Interior’s Spending Priorities and the President’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Proposal, “ March 5, 2015
  • House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, “Joint Hearing of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees to Receive the Legislative Presentation of Multiple Veterans Service Organizations,” March 5, 2015
  • House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, “Legislative Presentation of Multiple Veterans Service Organizations,” March 18, 2015
  • Senate Committee on Armed Services, Review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2016 and the Future Years Defense Program, March 3, 2015