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Massachusetts Tech Leaders Visit US Capitol

MassTLC CEO Tom Hopcroft led a delegation of local tech
leaders on our annual pilgrimage to Washington, DC, as part of a tech sector DC
Fly-In event organized with our national partners, CompTIA and TECNA, to
advocate on behalf of the tech community nationally.
CompTIA, the Computing and Technology Industry Association,
is a national advocate for the technology industry, and TECNA, the Technology
Councils of North America, is an organization of technology councils across
North America.
At this year’s fly-in, MassTLC joined
with 100+ tech leaders representing tech councils in Arizona,
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas,
Minnesota, Tennessee, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Georgia,
Kentucky, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. Collectively we participated
in 120+ Congressional meetings on issues of importance to the tech community.
Topping our agenda for both the general conference and our
individual legislative meetings were issues related to talent, such as lifting
the cap on H1B visas for highly skilled foreign workers, workforce training
funds for STEM, transportation (mass transit) to help connect talent to jobs,
as well as the Internet of Things, Data Privacy, Smart Cities, and Net
In addition, we pick a priority issue each year to rally around
with our TECNA counterparts and advocate simultaneously with 100+ lawmakers
across the nation. This year we focused our efforts on reform and modernization
of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). ECPA was originally passed
in 1986, when email and text messaging were still nascent technologies, and it deemed
that all stored electronic communications over 180 days old to be “abandoned.”
Under ECPA, law enforcement and government agencies can acquire these abandoned
emails and text messages from a service provider without a warrant, simply
needing a subpoena to obtain access.
Last year, we focused our national advocacy on calling for a
permanent extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA), which bans state
and local governments from taxing Internet access charges and assessing
multiple and/or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce. We are pleased to
join with our partners at CompTIA in applauding passage of the customs bill on
February 11 – H.R. 644 the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act — which
included a permanent extension of the ITFA.
The Massachusetts contingent consisted of Larry Disenhof,
Group Director Export Compliance, Government relations, Cadence Design Systems;
Tom Erickson, CEO, Acquia; Sara Fraim, Director of Programs, MassTLC; Tom
Hopcroft, President & CEO, MassTLC; David Leiter, President &
Co-Founder, ML Strategies; and Gene Lew, CTO, HeyWire.
We facilitated Hill meetings with Senator Edward Markey,
Senator Elizabeth Warren, Congressman Michael Capuano, Congresswoman Katherine
Clark, Congressman Joseph Kennedy III, Congressman Seth Moulton, and
Congresswoman Niki Tsongas’ Legislative Director, Sara Outterson.
Special thanks to CompTIA for organizing a couple dozen senior
policy leaders, including Ryan Burke, Senior Policy Advisor for the White House
National Economic Council, Sokwoo Rhee, Ph.D., Associate Director of
Cyber-Physical Systems at NIST, FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny, Manar
Waheed, Deputy Policy Director of Immigration at the White House Domestic
Policy Council, Jason Whittet, Director of Intelligent Cities at GE.

A sampling of photos follow. 

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