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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) announced today that the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance their legislation that will make it easier and more affordable for artists to defend their intellectual property from theft.  This legislation, the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act, S. 1273, establishes a Copyright Claims Board at the Copyright Office for small business entrepreneurs, like photographers, musicians and graphic designers, to file suit against copyright infringers.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Chris Coons (D-Del.) joined as cosponsors of the legislation this week.

“Money and complexity of the court system should not be barriers for small business entrepreneurs and artists to sue copyright infringers, who are very obviously breaking the law,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Louisiana’s rich culture and history are rooted in the successes of talented artists, musicians and creators.  The CASE Act will ensure that Americans’ creative spirit is preserved and protected.” 

“A copyright is not meaningful unless it is enforceable, and right now thousands of creators are effectively unable to enforce their rights when it comes to infringements costing a few hundred or a few thousand dollars,” Durbin said. “Our bipartisan bill, supported by a wide variety of stakeholders, creates a voluntary, streamlined process to resolve small claims. We can help small businesses and entrepreneurs protect their hard work and I urge the full Senate to pass this bill.”

“Independent artists who rely on copyright laws to protect their work play an important role in our communities, but the current system makes it difficult for them to receive damages in a cost-effective manner,” said Senator Tillis. “I applaud the Judiciary Committee for passing this bipartisan bill that will provide a more efficient way for copyright holders to protect their intellectual property and ensure that our content creators can be properly paid when their work is used without authorization.”

“In its current form, the copyright system leaves no practical way for many creators to protect their rights as copyright holders. Federal district court litigation is simply too expensive and too complex for small photographers, artists, and the like to pursue valid claims against copyright infringers. The result is a system where those who rely most on their copyrighted works for their livelihoods are forced to sit back and watch while others use those copyrighted works free of charge,” Senator Hirono said. “The CASE Act will go a long way toward fixing this situation. By creating the Copyright Claims Board, the CASE ACT establishes a venue where small creators can actually enforce their intellectual property rights and finally bear the fruit of their work. I will continue working with my colleagues on this issue as we move this bill forward for passage through the full Senate.”

Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year.

Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s remarks about the CASE Act in today’s Senate Judiciary markup meeting:

 

 

Supporters of the CASE Act include:

  • American Association of Independent Music
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • American Photographic Artists
  • American Society for Collective Rights Licensing
  • American Society of Journalists and Authors
  • American Society of Media Photographers
  • Association of American Publishers
  • Authors Guild
  • Conservatives for Property Rights
  • Copyright Alliance
  • Digital Media Licensing Association
  • Dramatists Guild of America
  • Future of Music Coalition
  • Garden Communicators International
  • Graphic Artists Guild
  • Horror Writers’ Association
  • Nashville Songwriters Association International
  • National Press Photographers Association
  • National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981
  • News Media Alliance
  • North American Nature Photography Association
  • Novelists, Inc.
  • Recording Academy 
  • Professional Photographers of America
  • Recording Industry Association of America
  • Romance Writers of America
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America; Screen Actors Guild
  • American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)
  • Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators
  • Songwriters Guild of America
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced an important provision in the bipartisan National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization and Reform (NFIP Re) Act that will protect homeowners from taxpayer-funded consultants with a track record of unfairly lowering property damage assessments.

The bill allows FEMA to fire consultants, contractors, law firms, engineering firms and any other third-party company involved in NFIP contracts who deliberately mishandles claims to lower what insurance companies must pay to homeowners after a disaster.  Currently, FEMA can only make a termination when there is a criminal conviction.

For example, a federal judge accused contractor U.S. Forensic of “reprehensible gamesmanship” for rewriting engineer reports to lower the amount of property damage that could be attributed to Superstorm Sandy.  Despite these accusations, U.S. Forensic still can participate in the National Flood Insurance Program.

“Homeowners already are victimized when their property is destroyed.  They shouldn’t be victimized twice,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “ Unfortunately, bad actors continue to receive federal contracts despite reprehensible behavior in minimizing property damage.  Thankfully, this bill includes my provision allowing FEMA to more easily fire fraudulent contractors.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee advanced his legislation to remove the red tape from small-scale LNG exports.  The bill will encourage investment in an emerging industry and create more Louisiana energy jobs.

The Small Scale LNG Access Act expedites the approval of natural gas exports equal to or less than 51.75 billion cubic feet per year.  There is demand for small-scale LNG shipments in the Caribbean, Central America and South America.  However, the current permitting process is stifling U.S. companies from meeting that demand.

Sen. Kennedy introduced the bill with U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.).

“Louisiana already leads the world in large-scale LNG exports.  Entering the market to export small-scale LNG shipments will lead to even more well-paying jobs for Louisiana workers,” said Sen. Kennedy. “This bill is about creating opportunities for our families in an industry with limitless potential.”

“The Small Scale LNG Access Act unleashes the potential of American natural gas, creating good-paying jobs for hardworking families in Louisiana,” said Dr. Cassidy.

“I thank my colleagues on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for marking up and passing this important bill to expedite approval of small-scale natural gas exports, strengthen an emerging sector of Florida’s economy, and bolster our existing ties with Caribbean and Latin American nations,” Rubio said. “As nefarious actors, including the criminal regimes in Venezuela and Cuba, continue to undermine democracy and commit human rights atrocities in the region, we must ensure they cannot benefit from expedited access to American energy exports.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) questioned David Marcus, the head of Facebook’s new digital currency program Libra, in today’s Senate Banking Committee hearing.

In June, Facebook announced its plans to develop a new digital currency called Libra.  According to Facebook, Libra will be built on a blockchain, which means it will be backed by a reserve of assets governed by the Libra Association.  The Libra Association is an independent, not-for-profit organization headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

“Time and time again Facebook has proven that it cannot be trusted with our private information. Why should we allow them to control the money supply?” said Sen. Kennedy “Between election interference and the Cambridge Analytica data breach, Facebook has not earned the public’s trust.  I believe that you should be able to trust your banker and your banker should have a heightened sense of integrity.”

Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s questioning:

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today a $1 million grant for improvements at Lake Charles Regional Airport.

This grant will fund two new passenger loading bridges to help passengers board their planes quickly, safely and efficiently.

“Lake Charles Regional Airport is a hub for air traffic in southwest Louisiana.  This grant will greatly benefit the Lake Charles community,” said Sen. John Kennedy.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) told U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue in a letter that he will block the confirmation of department nominees until the USDA stops interfering with a program that protects Louisiana’s small refineries from financial devastation.

At issue are hardship waivers – called Small Refinery Exemptions – that give small refineries in Louisiana the ability to remain competitive against larger companies and further President Donald Trump’s initiative for the U.S. to be energy independent.  The USDA is reportedly involved in efforts to interfere with the Small Refinery Exemption program. Earlier this week, Sen. Kennedy joined other Republican senators in urging Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler to continue issuing the exemptions despite pressure from Democrats and special interest groups.

“Our nation’s refineries are economic engines that create jobs and support our mission to achieve energy independence.  The exemptions exist for a reason.  They are necessary to keep small refineries in business and protect tens of thousands of jobs across the U.S.,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “With all due respect, Secretary Perdue needs to stay out of this fight.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today on the Senate passage of fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act by a vote of 86-8:

“This defense spending package will provide billions of dollars to support our great men and women in uniform,” said Sen. Kennedy. “It raises our troops’ pay by 3.1%, and they deserve every penny.  It will allow us to better prepare for any threats to our national security.  When we’re dealing with rogue regimes like Iran and North Korea, it’s easier to sleep at night knowing that our military is fully funded and equipped to respond to any possible threats.”  

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, announced today a $4 million grant for Louisiana to provide childhood immunizations.

In 2018, only 70% of Louisiana children under three years of age received their recommended vaccinations.  The percentage was even lower for children below the poverty level.

“Preventive measures like vaccinations help keep our kids healthy and our communities safe from harmful diseases,” said Sen. Kennedy. “This grant will allow Louisiana to provide important immunizations.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement today on the Senate passing a bipartisan supplemental appropriations package to address the humanitarian crisis at the southern border:

“We’ve done our job in the Senate, and now it’s time for Speaker Pelosi to get her caucus in line to address this crisis,” said Sen. Kennedy. “The Senate’s bipartisan legislation will provide the tools needed to manage this unprecedented emergency. This is not the time to be partisan. This is the time to come together.” 

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) today urged Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler to support small refineries across America by continuing to issue Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs).

Recently 12 Senate Democrats sent a letter to Administrator Wheeler urging the agency to stop issuing SREs.  These exemptions give small refineries in Louisiana the ability to remain competitive against larger companies and further President Trump’s initiative for the U.S. to be energy independent.  Small refineries across America provide thousands of jobs and help the U.S. be global energy leader.

“I’ve urged Administrator Wheeler to support our nation’s refineries and preserve jobs by continuing to grant justified exemptions in accordance with the law,” said Sen. Kennedy. “The energy industry is essential to Louisiana’s economy and this nation’s energy independence.  The biofuel industry wants to rewrite the rules and force refineries out of business.  That would kill jobs across Louisiana.”

“Under the Trump administration’s energy independent agenda, we’ve seen new investments bring billions to our country and create good-paying jobs for Louisiana refinery workers,” said Dr. Cassidy. “We need to continue our effort to unleash American energy dominance, our independent refiners depend on it.”

“I urge Administrator Wheeler and the administration to stand with hardworking refinery workers across this country and continue enacting policies that promote greater energy independence,” said Sen. Cruz. “Under President Trump’s leadership, America is now the number one energy producer in the world. Not only do these Democrats want to roll that back, four of them want to end oil production in this country all together.  It is important to refinery workers across the country that these 12 Democrats do not undermine America’s energy renaissance, and set the administration’s policy on Small Refinery Exemptions. During his confirmation process, Administrator Wheeler expressed his commitment to following the law and continuing the legally required granting of SREs to those small refineries that qualify.  It is my hope that Administrator Wheeler will uphold the rule of law and President Trump’s promise to the thousands of blue collar workers whose jobs depend on reducing federal compliance costs for our nation’s independent refiners.”

“The Trump administration must protect America’s small refineries,” said Sen. Barrasso. “The Clean Air Act requires EPA to grant relief to any small refinery that suffers disproportionate economic hardship from the Renewable Fuel Standard. Under the Obama administration, EPA ignored the law and federal courts rebuked the agency. President Trump and Administrator Wheeler understand the important role small refineries play in keeping America energy dominant. We should all stand with small refineries and the communities they support.”

 “Energy independence and sticking by the hardworking men and women who make that possible is incredibly important to Americans—I know it’s important to those who work in the oil and gas industry in Oklahoma and their families,” said Sen. Inhofe. “Some of the same Democrats who cosponsored the far-fetched, radical Green New Deal that would eliminate more than 170,000 refining jobs are now urging Administrator Wheeler to ignore the law and take steps to further harm an industry that keeps America running. I know Administrator Wheeler sees this effort for what it is – another attack on fossil fuels and I urge him today to stand by the men and women who work hard every day in small refineries across the United States. I know he will.”

“Refineries provide family sustaining wages to thousands of Pennsylvania workers,” said Sen. Toomey. “EPA and the courts have made clear that waivers must be issued to refineries suffering severe economic harm from the ill-conceived corn ethanol mandate. The waivers simply diminish the burden of this terrible mandate on the refineries least able to afford it, and therefore allow them to continue doing business. With this in mind, Administrator Wheeler and President Trump should continue working to bolster our flourishing energy sector, not undermine it.”

“Small refineries are an important part of our nation’s energy infrastructure, employing thousands across our country and helping the U.S. maintain its leadership in energy production. The 12 Democrats that signed onto this letter have ignored the important economic role that oil production plays in driving our economy, particularly in rural areas.  I urge EPA Administrator Wheeler to stand by his promises to our nation’s small refiners and follow the intent of Congress to provide much-needed regulatory relief from the onerous requirements of the RFS program,” said Sen. Wicker.

“Not only does oil production provide good paying jobs to thousands of hard working Americans, but under President Trump’s energy dominance agenda the United States has become the world’s top energy producer,” said Sen. Lee. “I urge Administrator Wheeler to follow the law and uphold his commitment to continue granting waivers to small refineries that need regulatory relief to keep energy prices low and energy employment high.”

“Wyoming is at the front and center of America’s energy revitalization, and it’s due in part to President Trump and Administrator Wheeler’s commitment to our nation’s energy independence,” said Sen. Enzi. “Small Refinery Exemptions are an important part of reducing federal red tape and ensuring Wyoming’s oil industry can flourish.”

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