As most probably recall, S. 2344, sponsored by Senator Robert Menendez
(D-NJ), is a bipartisan bill unanimously approved in December by the Senate
Judiciary Committee. S. 2344 would authorize $50 million for a competitive
grant program open to all eligible organizations to carry out Internet
safety education programs spanning fiscal years 2008 through 2012. S. 2344
is the Senate counterpart to H.R. 4134 which would also authorize $50
million in fiscal years 2008 through 2012 but direct half of this funding
($25 million) to one organization, I-SAFE. H.R. 4134 passed the House of
Representatives in November. Prior to the Senate Judiciary Committee vote,
many of Internet safety organizations signed a letter to the leadership of
the Senate Judiciary Committee supporting S. 2344 and opposing H.R. 4134,
sponsored by Congresswoman Linda Sanchez.
S 2344 has run into a snag in the Senate. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has
placed a "hold" on the bill. A ³hold² is a permissible parliamentary
procedure within Senate rules that allows one or more Senators to prevent
legislation from reaching a vote on the Senate floor - where it would
obviously pass overwhelmingly.
So we need some pressure from the field to be placed on Senator Coburn to
release this hold. This is money that can come to the state and local
educational organizations, as well as Internet safety organizations to
support the provision of this education. If you would take a minute to help,
that would be appreciated.
You can contact the Senator here:
But it appears that folks from OK will have the best response. So please
help us all out good folks from Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down
the plain. But others should try to write also. Here is some language:
I am writing to urge that you release your ³hold² and permit a Senate floor
vote on S. 2344, the Internet Safety Education Act, a bipartisan bill
unanimously approved in December by the Senate Judiciary Committee. S. 2344
would authorize $50 million for a competitive grant program open to all
eligible organizations to carry out Internet safety education programs
spanning fiscal years 2008 through 2012. Internet safety education programs
are greatly needed across America to address the risks present to children
and teens in this new technology environment.
Then, write to your own senators. Change the first sentence to "I am writing
to urge that you call upon Senator Coburn to release his ³hold² and permit a
Senate floor vote on S. 2344..."
Nancy Willard, M.S., J.D.
Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use
Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats: Responding to the Challenge of Online Social
Aggression, Threats, and Distress (Research Press)
Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens: Helping Young People Learn to Use the
Internet Safely and Responsibly (Jossey-Bass)