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BSA Heads to the Hill

On this past Wednesday, BSA | The Software Alliance hosted its annual fly-in. Board members from BSA spent the day on Capitol Hill meeting with Members of Congress to talk about policy priorities like ECPA reform, international data flows, TPP, and computer science education. Our delegation included representatives from Bentley, CA Technologies, Datastax, IBM, SAS Institute, Siemens, Splunk, Workday, and Dell.

Fly-ins help us share our industry advocacy priorities with Members of Congress and educate them about what our member companies do. Our fly-in was also a valuable way to thank lawmakers for their leadership on issues like the Judicial Redress Act, the Defend Trade Secrets Act, and patent legislation. On Wednesday, we met with 5 House Members and 9 Senators. Meetings with leadership included Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, and Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry.

Here are just a few highlights of our very busy day on Capitol Hill:

  • The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) was a key focus of many of our meetings. We met with several advocates for ECPA reform, including the lead sponsors and cosponsors of the bill. We thanked Chairman Grassley for putting ECPA on the Judiciary Committee’s markup agenda, we thanked Senators Leahy and Lee for steering the effort as lead sponsors of the bill, and we thanked Senators Cornyn and Coons for their support. BSA is advocating for the passage of ECPA reform without amendment, and our conversations on Wednesday were a positive step in that direction. We thanked Chairman Goodlatte and Members of the House for moving ECPA reform legislation through the House on a 419-0 vote.
  • We also talked about the importance of the free movement of data across borders, the significant TPP provisions related to cross border data flows, and the importance of a strong Privacy Shield agreement with the EU. Board members shared compelling stories about how their companies move data around the world every day, illustrating the importance of ensuring that data can continue to move freely across borders.
  • Lawmakers were very interested in our thoughts about the importance of STEM education. BSA is a member of the Computer Science Education Coalition, a coalition of businesses and NGOs working to expand access to computer science education in K-12 classrooms across America. The Coalition is urging Congress to provide $250 million in federal funding for K-12 computer science education this fiscal year.

In each meeting, we talked about the importance of the software industry to our economy—always a topic of great interest to Members of Congress! We’ll continue to engage with these lawmakers and many others, and we look forward to promoting BSA’s data agenda throughout the rest of the year.

Craig Albright

Author:

Craig Albright leads BSA's engagement with the US Congress.

Prior to joining BSA, he spent four years as the World Bank Group's Special Representative for the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, managing relations with government officials, private sector executives, think tank academics, civil society leaders and others. Before that, Albright spent more than 12 years in the US government. He served in the White House as Special Assistant to President George W. Bush for Legislative Affairs and Deputy Assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney for Legislative Affairs. In Congress, his positions included Legislative Director and Chief of Staff for former Congressman Joe Knollenberg of Michigan and Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Kay Granger of Texas.

Albright is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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