CREDIT HEADERS LIVE --- FOR NOW ---CONGRESS ADJOURNS
By Eddy McClain NCISS Legislative Committee member
With Congress finally in adjournment HR 2971, the Social Security Number Privacy
and Identity Theft Prevention Act of 2003 authored by Representative Clay Shaw,
R-FL, and its twin, S 2801 by Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, have died in committee
of the 108th Congress. NCISS
expects similar legislation will be introduced by both legislators when the 109th
Congress convenes in January. Regrettably, Dru’s law, HR 3929, the sex offender
registration bill supported by NCISS and championed by Bob Heales, passed the
Senate but failed to pass in the House and will have to be reintroduced in 2005.
Since Rep. Shaw has now been reelected, and some parts of HR 2971 have apparently
been adopted in HR 10, the intelligence bill passed yesterday, many observers
feel he may not pursue his identity theft legislation in 2005. We believe this
is wishful thinking and that some form of the bill will be introduced again. Republicans
allow ranking members to serve three two year terms as chairmen of committees
and since Rep. Shaw has only chaired the Social Security Subcommittee for two
terms, he is expected to return as chairman in 2005.
On the Senate side, at the urging of California investigators who lobbied strenuously
against S-2801, Senator Feinstein has agreed for her staff to meet with NCISS
to discuss language for legislation in the 109th Congress. NCISS lobbyist Larry
Sabbath is scheduled to meet with her staff this week for preliminary discussions.
It is anticipated this will be a lengthy process.
WHY DIDN’T HR 2971 PASS?
The author initially assured his fellow legislators that these bills were sound
and had little opposition. That is why they advanced as far as they did with unanimous
support. But the lobbying effort of NCISS, its many state associations and members,
plus the work of allies whom we alerted about the problem, took its toll on the
sponsor’s claims. Once they realized there were problems with the bill,
legislators decided to slow the process. With regard to S-2801, Senator Feinstein
perceived that HR 2971 was moving, photocopied the language and introduced it
with three weeks left in the session in hopes of catching Representative Shaw’s
coattails. That didn’t work, but a new version is expected in 2005. It is
our hope that by negotiating and explaining our needs, we can prevail on legislators
to provide the necessary exemptions in the initial drafts.
There is no doubt grass-roots lobbying works when combined with professional help.
The investigative profession has awakened to the need for representation in Washington
and our State Capitols. Thank you for your continuing support of NCISS.
Eddy McClain NCISS Legislative Committee member