– Senator Todd Young, along with Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Ed Markey (D-MA), and Reps. John Delaney (D-MD) and Pete Olson (R-TX), introduced first-of-its-kind legislation that would promote an enabling environment for the continued development of artificial intelligence (AI) technology. The Fundamentally Understanding the Usability and Realistic Evolution of Artificial Intelligence Act of 2017 – or FUTURE of AI Act – establishes a federal advisory committee to examine and wrestle with the economic opportunities and impacts emerging AI technologies will have in many aspects of American life. Due to this being such a new concept, there is currently no federal policy on AI.

“Artificial Intelligence has the ability to drastically boost our economy,” said Young. “As Americans continue to interact with this technology every day, and as its capabilities expand, it’s important that we study and prepare for AI’s continued use in our society.”

– Earlier this year, we reported on legislation from Congressman Luke Messer (IN-06) that encourages a more seamless transition for community college transfer students earning degrees. Messer’s proposal would make it easier for students to earn a degree through a “reverse transfer,” where students who transferred from a community college to a four-year-institution but haven’t completed a bachelor’s degree can apply those additional credits back toward an associate’s degree. Originally titled the Reverse Transfer Efficiency Act of 2017, it was recently added as an amendment to the Higher Education Reauthorization by the House Committee on Education and Workforce. The provision would streamline credit sharing between community colleges and four-year institutions so transfer students can be notified when they become eligible to receive an associate’s degree through a reverse transfer.

“An associate’s degree can make a huge difference for working Hoosiers,” Messer said. “By making it easier for transfer students to combine credits and get a degree they’ve earned, Hoosiers will have more opportunities to get good-paying jobs and succeed in today’s workforce.” This legislation was supported not only by the Indiana Chamber, but also by Ivy Tech Community College and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

– Senator Joe Donnelly was one of the 13 members of the Senate Banking Committee who successfully voted to block the President’s appointment of Scott Garrett to the Export-Import Bank. Two Republicans – Sens. Mike Rounds of South Dakota and Tim Scott of South Carolina – joined all the Democrats on the committee in opposition. The Ex-Im Bank provides government-backed loans to U.S. companies that export goods and services overseas.

Donnelly stated, “The Ex-Im Bank is important for small businesses and manufacturers in Indiana that export products and create jobs. Scott Garrett opposed Ex-Im for years, but now wants to lead it. I voted against his nomination to stand up for Hoosier small businesses.”

– President Trump has signed the National Defense Reauthorization Act (NDAA), which included key provisions authored by Sen. Young. A former Marine and current member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Young worked successfully to include a provision in the final defense bill that requires a comprehensive review of U.S. maritime intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting capabilities.

Young also worked to include a provision that encourages the Air Force and Navy to increase integration as they modernize our nation’s nuclear deterrent, but unfortunately it was not in the final version of the bill. However, Young worked successfully to secure language in the FY 2018 NDAA Report (115-404) that provides Congressional guidance to the Department of Defense. “The Pentagon must look for every opportunity to serve as a better steward of our tax dollars. The threats we confront are onerous and the budget is finite, and we can’t afford to waste a single dollar,” Young said in a statement.

– Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) formally decided, in a 3-2 vote, to overturn the Obama-era net neutrality regulations that currently govern the internet. Illinois, Iowa and New York are among the states suing the FCC to block the repeal from going into effect. Meanwhile, Netflix promised this is the beginning of a longer legal battle.

Net neutrality implies an open internet environment that internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or web sites.The 2015 net neutrality laws reclassified high-speed broadband as a public utility under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act rather than the 1996 Telecom Act. These regulations applied to both mobile and fixed broadband networks. The reclassification changed how government treats broadband service and gave the FCC increased controls over internet service providers.

The Indiana Chamber supports free-market competition in the delivery of advanced communications services. The Chamber opposes any attempt to impose new regulations on broadband and other next-generation telecommunications services by the FCC.

With the FCC ruling, it is expected that Congress will entertain legislation to promote some of the concepts of net neutrality and limit the ability to stifle content.