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What tech issues are on the 2015 congressional legislative agenda?

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I can’t help but think of that old hip hop group Leaders of the New School when I consider this week’s launch of the next congressional legislative session with a majority Republican House and Senate.

If the past couple of years was defined by stagnation because a divided Congress could not agree, the next two should be different as there is no excuse any longer for the Republicans to not be able to move their agenda forward now they are the leaders of the new school or era.

For those of us who follow tech, privacy, cybersecurity and intellectual property, we should also be on high alert on the new sheriff in town in our world as well: Darrell Issa!

If you thought Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) was known as a bull dog when he headed the House Oversight and Government Committee, can you imagine what he will have in store as chair of the House Internet, Courts and Intellectual Property Subcommittee?

This week, Issa signaled to the press that he is readying to dig his paws into the FCC and stopping it from what he foresees will be a heavy hand of regulation on Net Neutrality. Issa, who formerly headed of the Consumer Electronics Association before running for office, told reporters while briefly attending the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that he believed “the FCC is exceeding its legislative mandate” and will “be pushing hard against that.”

He isn’t the only one poised to shake things

Over on the Senate side, ranking Senators on the Senate Commerce Committee also have their sights set on net neutrality. Ranking member Senator Bill Nelson and Committee chairman Senator John Thune told reporters that the two are in works to craft language related to net neutrality. It could possibly also part of a Telecommunications Act rewrite and update. (the old one was adopted in 1996). Although he said they’ve just started, he promised that it will be “exciting”.

Well that’s a word you never see used while discussing things like Net Neutrality and Open Internet.

* Cybersecurity and privacy will be fast tracked, especially in light of the Sony hacking and subsequent high-profile hack jobs. It’s an area where there is agreement with the White House and Congress so we can expect movement there.

* Immigration: Visas for tech will be big back in play  They were put on hold after the influx of unaccompanied Central American children diverted attention from Republican initiatives to allocate more visas for foreign tech workers.  Although Obama is big on not out-sourcing jobs to South East Asia, he is also adamant about growing a tech economy and is likely to support efforts that promote that goal.

*Copyright, piracy and patent reform are all topics boiling to the top of the tech agenda.

That’s what I came up with! What about you? What do you foresee topping the agenda? And do you think there will finally be movement given Obama still has veto authority?

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