House Judiciary Committee Not Finished With SOPA

Author: Craig Blaha
Published: December 16, 2011 at 4:37 pm

After 12 hours of debate, the House has discussed 10% of the online piracy bill SOPA amendmentsThe House Judiciary Committee will continue to debate the controversial piracy legislation, the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, today. After 12 hours of discussion yesterday, Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) said Friday is going "to be a long, hard day."

The debate focused on two major themes; the competency of the committee to understand the long term implications of the bill and whether the aggressive timeline will lead the committee to pass poor legislation.

According to the Washington Post, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah)  summarized the competence argument by comparing the discussions on the bill so far to doing surgery without having a doctor in the room, "maybe we ought to ask some nerds what this [bill] really does".

The aggressive timeline that Lamar Smith has imposed was highlighted by Sheila Jackson (D-TX) when she said "I cannot fathom why we are moving so quickly on a bill that could cause us to save billions of dollars or lose billions of dollars."

Some members chimed in remotely, as was the case when Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who was not present, disrupted the proceedings with his tweet "We are debating the Stop Online Piracy Act and Shiela Jackson has so bored me that I'm killing time by surfing the Internet."

There are 60 proposed amendments to the bill, lawmakers made it through just 6 in the first day. When Lamar Smith said everyone should bring a lunch and a flashlight, he wasn't kidding. The debate continues today, the bill is expected to be voted out of committee once all of the amendments have been voted on.


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Article Author: Craig Blaha

Craig is a privacy, secrecy, and social media researcher pursuing his PhD in Information Studies at UT Austin. Craig teaches undergraduate classes on Social Media and Privacy and the Internet and Public Policy. …

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