House Science Bills on Space Weather and Election Technology Pass the House
House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas praised the passage of two bipartisan Committee bills today on space weather and election technology.
S.881, the Promoting Research and Observations of Space Weather to Improve the Forecasting of Tomorrow Act, more commonly referred to as the PROSWIFT Act, improves our ability to monitor and forecast space weather. Space weather is generated by magnetic activity on the Sun and can affect technologies on Earth ranging from cell phone communications to GPS navigation to the electric grid. The bill includes an amendment by Lucas to create a pilot program that will ensure that emerging private sector companies have a seat at the table and will be able to provide monitoring and forecast data which the federal government can purchase and utilize in space weather forecasts.
“The bill before us today represents a good faith effort by the House and Senate to provide a framework which will provide for better coordination across the federal government,” Lucas said. “This is especially timely given that we are about to enter a period of increased solar activity, which will create more space weather events.”
H.R. 4990, the Election Technology Research Act, is cosponsored by Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), Ranking Member Lucas, and Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). It supports research to help improve the security and modernization of U.S. voting technologies.
“Election security is an issue essential to our democracy…” said Rep. Gonzalez. “With new threats facing our electoral systems, it is imperative that we continue to update our election laws and improve our election security by passing bipartisan election security legislation.”
“This bill provides the research tools to help state and local election officials deal with foreign and domestic cyber threats,” Lucas said. “And it does so without imposing costly or burdensome mandates on States. Instead, this bill leverages an established system to provide voluntary guidelines to state and local election officials to use as they see fit. I thank my colleagues for their bipartisan work on this important issue.”