Media

“Social media has many virtues, but too often it divides people by feeding them polarizing information—without their awareness or consent. . . . My bill would give Americans more control over their privacy and online experience.”

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) welcomed the introduction of the House companion of S.4756, the Don’t Push My Buttons Act. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) introduced the legislation, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is the bill’s lead co-sponsor.

“Social media has many virtues, but too often it divides people by feeding them polarizing information—without their awareness or consent. Platforms that incite conflict just to increase their ad revenue have a duty to inform users of that manipulation. My bill would give Americans more control over their privacy and online experience, and I applaud Congressman Gosar for introducing its companion in the House today,” said Kennedy.

“Tech companies are making users the product. Google and others are collecting user data and manipulating users, often unwittingly. Some may find content curation options convenient, but many users are creeped out and manipulated by data collection and content curation regarding personal habits, preferences, or beliefs. The Don’t Push My Buttons Act empowers users to choose, or decline, custom content curation based on collected personal data, empowering users to protect themselves from unwanted manipulation online,” said Gosar.

The Don’t Push My Buttons Act would narrow the scope of U.S. Code 47, Section 230 immunity by denying such immunity to platforms that use algorithms that attempt to optimize engagement by funneling information to users that polarizes their views, unless a user opts into such an algorithm.

The internet platform has the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that a user of its service knowingly and intentionally elected to receive the content covered in this bill.

The text of Kennedy’s bill is available here. Kennedy’s speech about the bill is available here.

“Mike Foster worked hard to create jobs and improve education across Louisiana. I had the privilege of serving in his administration and seeing firsthand why so many Louisianians admire him. Becky and I are incredibly sad about his passing, but we are so happy to have known him. We are praying for Alice and the entire Foster family.”

“I introduced the Hurricane Laura Recovery Opportunity Zones Act to incentivize rebuilding and development projects in southwest and central Louisiana communities.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Hurricane Laura Recovery Opportunity Zones Act to increase investment in communities hit hard by the category four storm.

“A month after Hurricane Laura struck, Louisianians are already rebuilding their homes and businesses. I introduced the Hurricane Laura Recovery Opportunity Zones Act to incentivize rebuilding and development projects in southwest and central Louisiana communities,” said Kennedy.

The Hurricane Laura Recovery Opportunity Zone Act would incentivize building and development projects in low-income areas impacted by the storm by allowing investors to defer and potentially reduce capital gains taxes on assets sold after Aug. 28, 2020. Hurricane Laura Recovery Opportunity Funds would be the vehicle for investing in eligible low-income areas, which will spur economic development in areas devastated by the hurricane. 

Hurricane Laura Recovery Opportunity Zones are low-income census tracts in major disaster areas designated to receive individual assistance as a result of the Hurricane Laura federal disaster declaration. These Hurricane Laura Recovery Opportunity Zones allow investors to temporarily defer and partially exclude taxes on previously earned capital gains. 

Investors who reinvest those capital gains in Hurricane Laura Recovery Opportunity Funds would not be taxed on those gains until they sell their investments or until the end of 2030. Gains from investments in Hurricane Laura Recovery Opportunity Funds that are held for at least 10 years are excluded from tax.

This legislation also includes a sense of the Congress that capital gains rates should not be changed.

The bill text is available here.

Background:

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) authorized Opportunity Zones across the country in 2017, and now the new Hurricane Laura Recovery Opportunity Zones Act will build on that program to provide the same favorable tax treatment for investors interested in helping communities recover from the storm.

On Aug. 28, 2020, President Donald Trump granted a major disaster declaration for the state of Louisiana, triggering the release of federal funds to help people and communities recover from Hurricane Laura, which occurred Aug. 22 to Aug. 27, 2020. 

"While Louisiana’s marshlands provide a habitat to some of America’s most beautiful wildlife, they are also the first line of defense against damaging storms. Nutria have already destroyed thousands of acres of wetland along our coast, putting Louisianians and our ecosystems at greater risk. I want to thank my colleagues in the Senate for passing this bipartisan bill. Now, I hope it quickly becomes law to save communities from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean from these destructive swamp rats."

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement after meeting today with Judge Amy Coney Barrett, nominated by President Donald Trump to join the U.S. Supreme Court:

“Judge Amy Coney Barrett is an impressive, thoughtful jurist with great respect for the Constitution. I’m thankful for the opportunity to speak with Judge Barrett today, and I look forward to hearing from her in the approaching committee hearings.”

“If a close look at this pilot program shows that veterans are healthier when they use fitness monitors, it’s worth considering whether these efforts can be expanded through Medicare or private insurance. These fitness trackers may be a simple way to improve health care and lower costs for many Americans.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced a bill to determine whether a pilot program through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is delivering high-quality care to veterans by using wearable fitness monitors and whether the program should be expanded.

“Our veterans deserve incredible care, and I want to make sure they’re getting it. If a close look at this pilot program shows that veterans are healthier when they use fitness monitors, it’s worth considering whether these efforts can be expanded through Medicare or private insurance. These fitness trackers may be a simple way to improve health care and lower costs for many Americans,” said Kennedy.

The VA has operated a pilot program, VETERANS (Veteran Engagement Through Electronic Resources and Notifications Study), that provides Garmin and Apple Watches, FitBits or other wearable technology to veterans who have recently undergone surgery related to atrial fibrillation. The program also includes patients enrolled in weight management, cardiac rehabilitation and other programs. The devices help veterans monitor their heart rates and better track their overall health in coordination with the VA.

Because the program was not established through legislation, there is currently no report requirement related to the pilot program. This bill would require the Secretary of the VA to provide a report by the end of fiscal year 2022 on the pilot program’s findings to determine whether it is effective and whether the program could potentially be implemented through the Medicare system or other health care providers. 

The bill text is available here.

“I’ve worked to ensure the disaster relief fund gets the increase needed to take care of people hurt by storms and people struggling under the coronavirus pandemic. Between the $17 billion infusion to the disaster relief fund and a full year’s extension for flood insurance, Louisianians can take heart that the resources they need are there for them.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, released the following statement after the Senate passed a funding bill that adds $17 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster relief fund and extends the National Flood Insurance Program for a year.

“Louisiana is working hard to rebuild what Hurricane Laura ripped to shreds, and they shouldn’t have to worry about whether the rest of the country is going to show up to help them. I’ve worked to ensure the disaster relief fund gets the increase needed to take care of people hurt by storms and people struggling under the coronavirus pandemic. Between the $17 billion infusion to the disaster relief fund and a full year’s extension for flood insurance, Louisianians can take heart that the resources they need are there for them,” said Kennedy.

Earlier this month, Kennedy introduced the Hurricane Laura Recovery Funding Act to increase FEMA’s disaster relief fund, which funds the agency’s recovery efforts.

“Hurricane Laura devastated communities across Louisiana, and this funding will support critical workforce development programs to bolster local economies in New Orleans, Lake Charles and Monroe.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $3,162,713 in grant funding from the Department of Labor to support workforce development efforts in New Orleans, Lake Charles and Monroe.

“Hurricane Laura devastated communities across Louisiana, and this funding will support critical workforce development programs to bolster local economies in New Orleans, Lake Charles and Monroe,” said Kennedy.

Projects supported by this funding include $1,458,203 to McNeese State University, $1,074,510 to the University of Louisiana at Monroe and $630,000 to NextOp, Inc.