Communications Law Reform Proposal To Be Debated
WASHINGTON D.C. - U.S. Senator John Ensign (R-Nevada) and Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy will speak June 21 at a public forum on reforming communications law hosted by The Progress & Freedom Foundation. The focus of discussion will be a proposal for a new regulatory framework, complete with model legislative language, which is the product of a working group of PFF's Digital Age Communications Act (DACA).
The public forum will be June 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill. At the forum, the DACA Regulatory Framework Working Group Co-Chairmen -- PFF Senior Fellow Randolph May and Northwestern University Law Professor James Speta -- will explain the group's proposal and its rationale and will hear reactions from DACA Advisory Group members.
Ensign and Abernathy, in separate presentations, will share their thoughts on the Working Group report and communications law reform in general. In addition, a panel representing multiple communications industries and other interests will respond to the report. Those attending will be free to ask questions and make suggestions. The working group proposal and draft legislative language will be released Friday, June 17.
Ensign is the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Technology, Innovation and Competitiveness. In addition, Ensign chairs the Republican High Tech Task Force and serves as Vice Chairman of the Republican Steering Committee, a group that shapes the party's legislative agenda. A veterinarian from Las Vegas, Ensign was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000. He has built a strong record of supporting technological development and innovation through the promotion of free markets, and is taking a leading role in communications law reform.
Abernathy joined the FCC in May of 2001 after being appointed by President George W. Bush. Prior to her appointment, she was Vice President of Public Policy at BroadBand Office Communications, Inc. She has been a partner at Wilkinson Barker Knauer, Vice President for Regulatory Affairs at U.S. West, and Vice President for Federal Regulatory at AirTouch Communications. Previously at the FCC, she was a Telecommunications Legal Advisor to FCC Chairman James H. Quello, Legal Advisor to Commissioner Sherrie P. Marshall, and Special Assistant to the FCC's General Counsel.
PFF launched DACA in February with the intent of providing guidance for regulators and legislators on how to address regulatory issues in an era of competing digital services and platforms. DACA consists of dozens of individuals, including PFF fellows, scholars at other think tanks and universities, and public policy officials from the last five presidential administrations. There are five working groups -- Regulatory Framework, Federal/State Framework, Universal Service/Social Policy, Spectrum Policy, and Institutional Reform. All of the working groups expect to release draft proposals in the coming months for public consumption and comment.
Lunch will be served at the June 21 event. To ensure a place, those wishing to attend should register online. Questions should be addressed to Eileen Goulding at 202-289-8928 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Media should direct queries to Patrick Ross at 202-289-8928 or email@example.com.
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.