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Introduction of Resolution Promoting Democracy Through the Internet

Introduction of Resolution Promoting Democracy Through the Internet



Thursday, June 13, 1996

Mr. WHITE. Mr. Speaker, today, I join with my good friend and colleague from Virginia in introducing a resolution calling on Congress to use the Internet to provide constituents with more access to government information; communicate with constituents through electronic mail, and work with the net community to get input on issues affecting the Internet.

Yesterday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the Communications Decency Act, on the grounds of constitutionality. The main reason this act was found unconstitutional is because Congress didn't understand what the Internet is all about. We tried to apply the indecency standard--a rule developed for television--to the Internet, which is a very different medium. If we want to avoid such problems in the future, Congress is going to have to learn what the Internet is all about.

But the drive behind this resolution goes further than educating Congress about the Internet--it fulfills our promise to make Congress more accessible to the American people.

The Internet is a powerful new medium that is growing by leaps and bounds. Each day more and more people are logging onto the Net to get information. As more people use the Internet as a way to communicate, do business, and educate our children, we in Congress need to make sure that we are using this new medium as a way to communicate with our constituents. By posting committee reports, voting records, and other documents on the Internet we will give the public access to the same information we in Congress have.

Next year, Congress will go back to the drawing board to rewrite the CDA. When that time comes, I am optimistic that a more educated Congress will develop a solution that protects our children and protects our free speech.

Until that time, it is important to get more Members of Congress involved in Internet issues. That is why this resolution is so important. This resolution will require that Members of Congress go on record to show their commitment to learning about, and using, the Internet.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).