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  Taking The Hill
Posted 9/11/2007
By Caroline Holland

Lawmakers Work to Address Identity Theft

Members of both the United States Senate and House of Representatives are working through the House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee to take legislative action regarding identity theft. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is working on a bill that would set standards for truncating Social Security numbers, a practice useful for concealing individual identities. In the House of Representatives, Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., is working with Energy and Commerce ranking member Joe Barton, R-Texas, on a bill that would make the buying and selling of Social Security numbers for commercial purposes a crime.

Currently, some institutions use the first five digits of a Social Security number for identification purposes while other institutions use the last five. Therefore, with little effort, identity thieves can combine the two sets and come up with a person's full social security number. On June 21st, the House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee members pledged to take legislative action to halt the theft of consumers' personal identities through the illegal appropriation of their Social Security numbers.

Department of Labor Considers Child Regulatory Issues

The Department of Labor provided advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding child labor regulatory issues in April. Specifically, the notice outlines a change to HO 7, the order on hazardous occupations involving the operation of power-driven hoisting machines. The Department of Labor sought comments as to whether to add the operation of hydraulic grease racks to the HO 7 prohibition, which would restrict 16- and 17-year-olds from working as technicians or apprentices in dealerships. Such a provision has never been included in HO 7, which dates back to as early as 1951. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Recommendations recently found no significant risk to youth employees or others in the workplace.

Global Warming Bill Warrants Support

The Low Carbon Economy Act was introduced July 11 by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M, chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa. The act adds to the list of comparable bills that would establish a program to place a ceiling on greenhouse gas emissions while allowing businesses to trade emission allowances. This particular bill differs in that it limits the cost of emissions allowances in an effort to lessen the economic impact.

The bill has gained support from various groups including American Electric Power, Duke Energy Corporation, and the United Auto Workers. Democrats, including Sens. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, and the two Republican senators from Alaska - who have never supported a mandatory bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions - have offered their support.

Opponents of the bill claim that it does not adequately reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limits the penalty for those who exceed the limits set forth. The potential for passage of a Senate climate bill remains uncertain, although the level of support for the Bingaman-Specter bill may improve its chances for consideration.

The Low Carbon Economy Act, along with related global warming bills, are available on the Automotive Service Association's legislative Web site, www.TakingTheHill.com.

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