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CNET reports that a new U.S. Senate bill would grant the president far-reaching emergency powers to seize control of or even shut down portions of the internet. The legislation announced June 10 says that companies such as broadband providers, search engines, or software firms that the government selects “shall immediately comply with any emergency measure or action developed” by the Department of Homeland Security. Anyone failing to comply would be fined. That emergency authority would allow the federal government to “preserve those networks and assets and our country and protect our people,” Joe Lieberman, the primary sponsor of the measure and the chairman of the Homeland Security committee, told reporters on June 10. Lieberman is an independent senator from Connecticut who caucuses with the Democrats. Because there are few limits on the president’s emergency power, which can be renewed indefinitely, the densely worded 197-page bill is likely to encounter stiff opposition……Read More
It’s likely that every Oregon school will be required to have an automatic heart defibrillator available by 2015, reports the Oregonian. The House Education Committee voted 7-3 in favor of the requirement Feb. 19, and it now heads to the House floor. The full Senate approved Senate Bill 1033 earlier this week. Members of the House panel said they were reluctant to impose an unfunded mandate on schools, and they said they hope local donors will help pay the costs. But they said the potential to save lives moved them to vote yes on the mandate. Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, R-Scio, will make the case for the bill when it comes before the House. She testified with tears in her eyes that, in 2001, her young nephew died suddenly and unexpectedly from a heart problem at school. “This equipment very possibly could have saved his life,” she said. Automatic defibrillators, designed to be easy for lay people to use, shock the heart back into a normal rhythm. They typically cost $1,500 to $2,000. Some lawmakers questioned whether tiny rural schools can afford and truly need one. The bill’s chief sponsor, Sen. Jason Atkinson, R-Central Point, noted, “Rural schools often do more than just be a schoolhouse. Often they are the place for community events. … Emergency services are very important. We don’t actually think about them too much. But as a guy who has ridden in an ambulance twice in the last year, I’ll tell you, it’s nice to have around. This is important for rural Oregon.”…Read More