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SIIA Hails Markup of IDEA Act

This morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee moved S. 632, the Inventor Diversity for Economic Advancement (IDEA) Act out of Committee on a bipartisan basis.  The legislation would require the Patent and Trademark Office to amass and publish demographic information about patent applicants.  Jeff Joseph, President and CEO of SIIA, issued the following statement:

“SIIA supports the IDEA Act, and applauds the Committee’s action today. Recent events have drawn attention to systemic inequities in our society.  Good data is essential to determining to what extent those inequities are present in the patent system, and will give the PTO guidance on how to fix them. The IDEA Act requires the PTO to keep track of voluntarily disclosed patent applicant demographic information and publicly report it in the aggregate.  This kind of transparency will help evaluate and ensure that the incentives to innovate are available to everyone regardless of race, gender, or national origin.  We urge its swift enactment.”

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SIIA Statement on American Families Plan

The following statement was issued by Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) President Jeff Joseph following this evening’s Address to Congress by President Joe Biden:

“As President Biden said this evening, our nation is strongest when everyone has the opportunity to join the workforce and contribute to our economy. The American Families Plan introduced tonight during the President’s address to Congress proposes several initiatives that will help expand opportunity across our nation.

“The plan calls for significant investments in cradle to college education. These investments will make our education system more affordable and accessible for low- and middle-income students and enable historically disenfranchised communities to have a greater opportunity to climb the economic ladder and participate in the American dream. The plan also recognizes the importance and vitality of community colleges to the higher education ecosystem and seeks to address our nation’s teacher shortage. These investments will help create a larger, better educated pool of future employees for our members allowing them to continue to help drive economic growth and innovate.

“The American Families Plan includes a variety of other measures designed to remove barriers that prevent many from fully participating in the workforce. Investments in R&D and broadband will help maintain U.S. leadership in innovation and help close the equity gap in access to technology and education. These measures deserve close consideration and critical review by the Congress.

As Congress considers “pay fors” to cover the necessary investments we urge our political leaders to make wise choices. Following a historically challenging year, there is light at the end of the tunnel for American businesses to help restore and grow our economy and create jobs. Congress must avoid overly punitive tax policies that will handicap the ability for our members to drive growth and create jobs. 

 

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SIIA Urges Congress to Amend the FTC Act to Protect Consumers From Fraud

Today, the United States Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that Section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act) does not authorize the FTC to bypass its administrative proceedings to seek equitable monetary relief from federal district courts in consumer protection and antitrust cases. This ruling leaves the FTC without an important tool to combat fraud against consumers. We urge Congress to amend the FTC Act to empower the agency in exceptional cases involving fraud to enforce its statutory authority in the federal district courts and seek equitable monetary relief like redress, restitution, and disgorgement.

SIIA’s Associate General Counsel and Senior Director for Technology Policy Sara DePaul notes: “While we agree that the FTC should leverage its administrative proceedings for antitrust, advertising, and privacy cases before seeking equitable monetary relief, we are deeply concerned that today’s ruling has left the agency without sufficient powers to protect consumers and small businesses from pernicious frauds. The FTC needs to be able to act quickly when addressing fraudulent marketing conduct and to have the ability to stop and repair the harm caused by fraudulent actors in the marketplace. We urge Congress to act quickly to grant the FTC with this authority for actions brought under its fraud program so that the FTC can continue to be the top cop on the beat for protecting American consumers.”

About SIIA: 

SIIA is the only professional organization connecting more than 700 data, financial information, education technology, specialized content and publishing, and health technology companies. Our diverse members manage the global financial markets, develop software that solves today’s challenges through technology, provide critical information that helps inform global businesses large and small, and innovate for better health care and personal wellness outcomes – they drive innovation and growth. For more information, visit siia.net.

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EdTech Community Continues Conversation on 2021 Policy Priorities with FCC and Department of Education

More than 80 education technology leaders from 37 states yesterday returned virtually for meetings in Washington, D.C. with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Department of Education (ED) policymakers to discuss their COVID-19 pandemic experiences and advocate for actionable policies that support digital learning.
This was the second of a two-part 2021 virtual advocacy fly-in and happened just as President Biden announced a more than 40 percent increase in ED base funding as part of his $1.5 trillion budget and schools across the country prepare to utilize the $7.1 billion that was allocated to the FCC for a new Emergency Connectivity Fund in the latest COVID-19 relief package.
In the first part during February, participants spoke with Members of Congress and their staff about how to safely transition to a post-pandemic world, connect all students and close the “homework gap,” fund professional development to help educators leverage technology for learning, and protect student data privacy. The conversation continued on Wednesday, April 14, as the group met with the FCC regarding student connectivity needs and talked to senior ED staff about the implementation of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) and annual funding to support digital learning.
Key outcomes from these discussions include:
  • Federal leaders learned about state and local strategies and need to connect students to broadband and equip them with learning devices during, and beyond, the pandemic;
  • Summit participants learned about the ED’s plans for supporting the implementation of the ARP; and
  • Collaboration among local, state, and federal leaders to meet students’ and educators’ digital learning needs increased.
“We are thrilled to see Congress, the Department of Education and the FCC taking action to help close the homework chasm that students and teachers nationwide continue to face. Our virtual fly-in participants were keen to discuss everything from student data privacy to professional development funding with these key policymakers to help shape edtech policy moving forward and advocate for equitable access to advanced learning technologies,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN.
“The American Rescue Plan’s investment in the education system and the President’s FY22 budget request provide an unprecedented opportunity for leaders and educators to envision a new, post-pandemic era that leverages technology as an essential vehicle for effective learning and equitable supports. ISTE, our partner organizations and virtual fly-in participants look forward to continuing to collaborate with federal policymakers on these issues,” said Ji Soo Song, Senior Policy Advisor at ISTE.
“Connecting all students and teachers to digital learning opportunities — no matter where they live — has been, and will remain, a top priority for SETDA’s members. Now more than ever, we need strong local-state-federal partnerships focused on closing the digital divide once and for all. Our members deeply appreciate this invaluable annual opportunity to exchange ideas with SETDA’s school district and federal partners,” said Julia Fallon, Executive Director of SETDA.
“SIIA and our education technology member companies are thrilled to partner with CoSN, ISTE and SEDTA to bring our real-world experiences of the past year to Congress, the Department of Education and the Federal Communications Commission. Throughout the pandemic, our members stepped up to provide the tools to facilitate the rapid switch to distance learning, the transition to hybrid learning and the switch to safe learning in the classroom. We are thankful that policymakers have been so responsive to the needs of learners, educators and edtech providers by passing the American Rescue Plan and other relief bills over the past year. We look forward to continued collaboration as these laws are implemented and we address longstanding inequities exacerbated by the pandemic,” said SIIA President Jeff Joseph.
This year’s annual summit, led by CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking), ISTE (the International Society for Technology in Education), SETDA (the State Educational Technology Directors Association) and SIIA (the Software & Information Industry Association), took place virtually for the second year in a row due to the impact of COVID-19.
Learn more about the advocacy work of CoSNISTESETDA and SIIA. To speak with senior representatives of these organizations, please contact Heidi Payter at hpayter@fratelli.com.
About CoSN
CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. CoSN provides thought leadership resources, community best practices and advocacy tools to help leaders succeed in the digital transformation. CoSN represents over 13 million students in school districts nationwide and continues to grow as a powerful and influential voice in K-12 education. cosn.org
About ISTE
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is a nonprofit organization that works with the global education community to accelerate the use of technology to solve tough problems and inspire innovation. Our worldwide network believes in the potential technology holds to transform teaching and learning. ISTE sets a bold vision for education transformation through the ISTE Standards, a framework for students, educators, administrators, coaches and computer science educators to rethink education and create innovative learning environments. ISTE hosts the annual ISTELive, one of the world’s most influential edtech events. The organization’s professional learning offerings include online courses, professional networks, year-round academies, peer-reviewed journals and other publications. ISTE is also the leading publisher of books focused on technology in education.
About SETDA
Founded in 2001, the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is the principal association representing U.S. state and territorial educational technology and digital learning leaders. Through a broad array of programs and advocacy, SETDA builds member capacity and engages partners to empower the education community in leveraging technology for learning, teaching, and school operations.
About SIIA
SIIA is the only professional organization connecting more than 700 data, financial information, education technology, specialized content and publishing, and health technology companies. Our edtech membership develops and delivers software applications, digital instructional content, online and distance learning services, online assessment, and related technologies for millions of learners around the world.

 

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Voting is lifeblood of democracy, says SIIA

Voting is the lifeblood of our nation’s democracy. SIIA joins our member companies and leaders across corporate America in supporting efforts to make it easy to vote, and difficult to commit fraud, while ensuring confidence in secure, accessible and fair elections.

Tragically, many current efforts to secure elections will hamper the ability for all Americans to exercise this critical Constitutional right. These proposals will have a disproportionate impact on communities of color and others who have long suffered from actions – lawful and unlawful – that deny or restrict their vote. Our democracy works best when all of our nation’s citizens have the opportunity to participate – when every citizen has a voice and a vote. Ensuring equal and fair voting access is aligned with our organizational values of reducing racial inequality and increasing economic opportunities for all.

About SIIA: 

SIIA is the only professional organization connecting more than 700 data, financial information, education technology, specialized content and publishing, and health technology companies. Our diverse members manage the global financial markets, develop software that solves today’s challenges through technology, provide critical information that helps inform global businesses large and small, and innovate for better health care and personal wellness outcomes – they drive innovation and growth. For more information, visit siia.net.