• About the Society
  • Community Support
  • Advocacy
  • Women In Optics
    Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
    Public Policy
    Export Information
    Public Policy News
    Policy Fellowships
    Policy Positions
    Contact Congress
  • Get Involved
  • International Day of Light
  • Awards Programs
  • Press Room
  • Jobs at SPIE
  • Online Donation
Print PageEmail Page

April 2014 Public Policy News

29 April: House Appropriators release First Information on FY 2015 NASA, NIST, NOAA, and NSF Funding Bill: The House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee met to consider and then vote on its FY 2015 appropriations bill. This legislation provides funding for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Science Foundation.

House appropriators are working at a quick pace. This is the third of twelve bills that House appropriators have released. The full House Appropriations Committee has already approved funding bills for the Legislative Branch, and for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. Read more

25 April: National Science Board Takes Stand Against Science Committee NSF Legislation: The National Science Board released a statement criticizing key provisions in a House Science Committee bill that would reauthorize the National Science Foundation for the current year and FY 2015. Among the Board's concerns are provisions they fear "would compromise NSF's ability to fulfill its statutory purpose." The Board also expressed reservations about "significant new burdens on scientists" and the bill's setting of specific authorization levels for individual NSF directorates. Read more

23 April: Foster Bill Supports the Development of Open Source STEM Education Materials: Representatives Bill Foster (D-IL), Charles Rangel (D-NY), and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) have introduced H.R. 4455, the "Learning Opportunities With Creation of Open Source Textbooks (LOW COST) Act." The bill would require federal agencies to develop freely available and open source educational materials for use in college-level physics, chemistry, and mathematics courses. The materials developed through the open source material pilot program established in this Act would include a comprehensive set of textbooks or educational tools. Physics, chemistry and calculus topics would be included in the material and would be posted on the newly-established Federal Open Source Material Website. Read more

9 April: A Good Day at House Science: Subcommittee Approves Bipartisan NASA Authorization Bill: In less than a half-hour this morning the Space Subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee approved a bipartisan bill that would establish important policy for NASA. In contrast to last year's markup of an authorization bill that stretched over five hours with many party line votes, the action this morning required just two voice votes, setting up this bill for action by the full committee.

The chairs and ranking members of the full committee and the subcommittee credited the success of this bill to many hours of behind-the-scenes negotiations by the majority and minority staffs working together toward a common agreement. "I know we still have work to do, but this is certainly a positive step" said Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX). His words were echoed by Committee Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) who said that the committee's work on the bill "is by no means done." Read more

9 April: Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (S. 1468) Passes a Voice Vote: U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller (D-WV), and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), released the following statements after the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation passed S. 1468, the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act of 2013, which seeks to strengthen collaborations between the government and the manufacturing sector. The legislation now awaits action by the full Senate. 

"Today’s action means we're one step closer toward increasing our support for American innovation and manufacturing. We must continue to invest in programs that help transform the brilliant scientific discoveries currently taking place in university laboratories into real-world applications on the factory floor," said Rockefeller. "With this bill, we can bridge the gap from basic research to manufacturing that has doomed so many promising inventions before they’re able to reach the market. Senator Brown has been relentless in his support for workers and the manufacturing industry, and I thank him for all his work on this bill. I also want to thank Ranking Member Thune for his support. Now, it's time for the full Senate to act on this legislation that will create jobs and boost our economy."

"Our workers can compete against anyone in the world," Brown said. "Establishing a National Network of Manufacturing Innovation would create thousands of jobs and ensure the United States remains the global leader in advanced manufacturing. I thank Chairman Rockefeller, Ranking Member Thune, and the entire Commerce Committee for supporting this bipartisan legislation and helping it take another step towards becoming law." Read full press release 

8 April: On the Record: Representatives Signing Recent Letters Supporting NSF and DOE Office of Science:
Representatives recently were asked to sign two letters to House appropriators in support of FY 2015 funding for the Department of Energy Office of Science and the National Science Foundation.  Eighty-one members signed the letter for the Office of Science; 132 members signed the letter for the National Science Foundation. Read more  

7 April: Office of Science and Technology Policy Releases Report on Coordinating STEM Education Programs: The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 called for a Federal Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education 5-Year Strategic Plan.  The Act similarly requires that a report provide an update on the implementation of the Strategic Plan, the efficiency and coherence of federal STEM programs, and dissemination of STEM education research and resources.  This Progress Report was recently published by the Office of Science and Technology Policy and includes an overview of the STEM education FY 2015 budget request and the strategic plan, a discussion about reducing fragmentation and duplication of STEM programs, and plans to improve dissemination of federal STEM education resources. Read more