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July 2017 Public Policy News

11 July 2017: EU RoHS Exemption for Optical Materials Extended Until 2021: The European Union has extended until July 2021 exemptions for optical and colored filter glass from the RoHS directive covering electrical and electronic equipment and promoting collection and recycling of hazardous equipment and materials. The extension allows the usage of the indispensable lead containing optical flint glasses and green filter glasses as well as that of the cadmium containing steep slope red, orange, and yellow filter glasses for the next four years. This success was achieved due to patient and exhaustive work by Uwe Hamm of CARL ZEISS, Wenko Süptitz of SPECTARIS, Paul Goodman of ERA UK, and Peter Hartmann of SCHOTT. Because the situation with these materials will not change beyond 2021, the complete removal of optical materials from the RoHS scope will be the next target, the team notes. Preparation work will start in 2019 at latest.   Learn More

7 July 2017: NIST Seeks Comments on Growing, Sustaining the Nation's Cybersecurity Workforce: The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), is seeking Information, ideas, and views about the scope and sufficiency of efforts to educate and train the nation’s workforce to meet current and future private and public sector cybersecurity needs.  Read More

4 July 2017: All Party Parliamentary Group on Photonics Reconstituted in London: Following the British General Elections, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Photonics reconstituted in London to continue its business. In their dealings with the UK Government, future emphasis will be placed on the bridging the technical skills gap as well as enabling the group to highlight the role of photonics in ongoing parliamentary business such as legislation on e.g., driverless cars.  Learn More

30 June 2017: House Science Spending Bill Resembles Last Year's, Rebuffing Many Trump Cuts: The House's draft Commerce, Justice, and Science spending bill resembles last year's version, rejecting or softening many of the cuts proposed in President Trump's budget request for fiscal year 2018.  Read More

30 June 2017: House Gets Rolling, Rejects Some White House Cuts, Embraces Others: In a busy week, House appropriators tackled space, agriculture, defense, energy, and the National Science Foundation, with some energy technology programs particularly hammered.  Read More

30 June 2017: Congressman Dan Kildee Introduces Legislation Aiming to Increase Women Participation in STEM Jobs: Congressman Dan Kildee (MI) today introduced legislation to increase the percentage of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) occupations in Michigan and across America. STEM jobs, including professional and technical support occupations in the fields of computer science, mathematics, engineering and life and physical sciences, are growing nearly three times as fast as non-STEM jobs in the US according to the US Department of Commerce.  Read More

30 June 2017: Representatives Look to Shore Up Nation's Helium Supply: Last week, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources discussed draft legislation to facilitate the production of helium on federal lands. As helium is vital to several sectors including academic research, members expressed concerns about the impending closure of the Federal Helium Reserve.  Read More

30 June 2017: Trump Reestablishes National Space Council: President Trump signed an Executive Order reestablishing the White House National Space Council. Created by law in 1988 and operational under the George H.W. Bush Administration, the Council has not been funded or staffed since the end of his administration in January 1993. It was chaired during his Administration by Vice President Dan Quayle, now it will be chaired by Vice President Mike Pence.  Read More

29 June 2017: Senate Appropriators Reject NIH Cuts, Delve into Research Policy: At a hearing on the National Institutes of Health budget request, senators firmly rejected President Trump's proposal to slash biomedical research funding and pressed NIH Director Francis Collins on the proposed 10 percent cap on facilities and administration cost reimbursements.  Read More

26 June 2017: Supreme Court Allows Limited Travel Ban to Take Effect; Will Hear Trump Appeal: The United States Supreme Court ruled that parts of President Trump's so-called "travel ban" can go into effect now, and the court will consider the legality of the rest of the ban when it reconvenes in the fall. The ruling:

  • Allows those traveling from or who are citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen with ties in the US to obtain visas. This includes those visiting or coming to live with family members in the US, those attending a US university, a worker who accepted employment from a US company or a lecturer invited to address an American audience.
  • Denies those applying for visas who have no "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."

Read More

21 June 2017: NIST Reveals Budget Prioritization Process and New Strategic Planning Effort: At a meeting this month, top officials at the National Institute of Standards and Technology provided insight into how they are grappling with the possibility of deep budget cuts while also seeking to better situate the measurement science and standards agency for the future.  Read More

16 June 2017: Leaders in High Energy Physics Identify Priorities amid Budgetary Uncertainty: At this month’s meeting of the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel, Department of Energy and National Science Foundation officials outlined how they would prioritize funding under President Trump’s proposed budget cuts. It was also reported that there is interest in adding a decadal survey to the long-term planning process for high energy physics in the US.  Read More

15 June 2017: Deep Cuts for NIH, Other Life Sciences in FY 2018 Budget Plan: Under the Trump Administration budget, NIH would see an historically large funding reduction, while the VA, CDC, and FDA research programs would founder.  Read More

13 June 2017: ARPA-E Making Progress Toward Achieving Mission, Says New Assessment: The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) is making progress toward achieving its statutory mission and goals, says a new congressionally mandated report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. ARPA-E has funded research that no other funding source was supporting at the time, and the results of some of these projects have received follow-on funding from private and other public sources for various technologies, the report says.  Read More

Read other past issues of the Public Policy News.