Senate Commerce Advances Legislation on Telehealth and AI

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation advanced key IT legislation, as well as a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) nomination, out of today’s business meeting.

Via voice vote, the Committee advanced the Data Mapping to Save Moms’ Lives Act, the Fundamentally Understanding the Usability and Realistic Evolution (FUTURE) of Artificial Intelligence Act of 2020, and the Advancing Artificial Intelligence Research Act of 2020, as well as the nomination of Michael O’Rielly to serve as an FCC commissioner.

The Data Mapping to Save Moms’ Lives Act, sponsored by Sens. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Todd Young, R-Ind., and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, would task the FCC with incorporating data on maternal health outcomes for at least less than one year postpartum into the broadband health mapping tools of the Commission. To determine what data to include, the FCC will work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The legislation has a bipartisan companion bill in the House, where it is sponsored by Reps. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., G. K. Butterfield, D-N.C., Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., and Susan Brooks, R-Ind.

The Fundamentally Understanding the Usability and Realistic Evolution (FUTURE) of Artificial Intelligence Act of 2020, sponsored by Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Todd Young, R-Ind., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., would name the Department of Commerce responsible for leading government policy on AI. It would further direct the Department to create an advisory committee tasked with submitting recommendations within 18 months on how the government and business can work together to address AI concerns. Specifically, the committee would have to address potential growth, restructuring, and other changes for the U.S. workforce; protecting the privacy rights; promoting a climate of innovation to ensure global competitiveness; and supporting the development and application of unbiased AI. The legislation does not appear to have a companion bill in the House.

The Advancing Artificial Intelligence Research Act of 2020, sponsored by Sens. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss., would establish a national program to advance AI research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and authorize multiple research institutes to study the benefits and challenges of AI. The Senate bill has a similar piece of legislation in the House. The Growing Artificial Intelligence Through Research Act, introduced in April 2019, is co-sponsored by Reps. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., Tom Reed, R-N.Y., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., and Tim Ryan, D-Ohio.

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