Congress ranked on support for tech

Congress members' records on high-tech issues will be graded and ranked this year by trade group the Information Technology Industry Council.

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Congress members' records on high-tech issues will be graded, ranked, and filed this year by the Information Technology Industry Council.

The Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC), a trade association that represents Apple Computer, Dell, IBM, and others, wants to pat friends on the back while turning the spotlight on lawmakers who aren't helping the industry.

"This is another step in giving the IT industry a more assertive voice on Capitol Hill," Rhett Dawson, the ITIC's president, said in a statement. "We need to recognize those who support our philosophy of free trade, innovation, and market-based solutions as well as develop a more effective way of assessing where we stand."

The group's 106th congressional scorecard will document federal legislators' actions in committee hearings and on the floors of the House and Senate when it comes to key legislation about encryption export limits, the Y2K computer problem, bandwidth deployment, digital signatures, and global trade issues.

The ITIC also released a preliminary 105th congressional scorecard, which will be posted on its home page by tomorrow.

Members who scored 100 percent voted in favor of a $500 billion federal spending bill that included a boost in foreign worker visas for high-tech companies, a moratorium on Net taxation, promoted use of digital signatures, and extended a research and development tax credit. The bill also included the Child Online Protection Act, which makes it a crime for commercial Web sites to give minors access to "harmful material" and was blocked by a federal judge.

Favored lawmakers also approved new copyright protections for digital works and limited legal liability for companies that share solutions to the Y2K problem.

Those with high marks cut across party lines, as they did in the Tech Law Journal's 105th congressional scorecard.

In the Senate, 16 Republicans and 9 Democrats topped the ITIC's list, while in the House 14 Democrats and 12 Republicans were ranked as pro-industry on high-tech issues.