Energy & Commerce Committee Passes Three Bills led by Rep. Cárdenas
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy & Commerce passed three bills led by U.S. Representative Tony Cárdenas (D-CA). The first measure, the SOAR Act, would help health professional recognize and address human trafficking. The second measure, H.R. 3404, would establish an advisory council at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on autonomous vehicles. The third piece of legislation, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, would clarify FDA menu labeling regulations for restaurants and retailers.
On the passage of the SOAR Act Rep. Cárdenas said:
“Ensuring health professionals have the tools to recognize and address human trafficking is crucial in our fight against this despicable industry. In the past ten years, Los Angeles has become one of the top three hubs for human trafficking. We have to do more. I’m proud to work together with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address this issue in a meaningful way.”
On the passage of the SELF DRIVE Act Rep. Cárdenas added:
“To many of us, self-driving cars still seem like a thing of the future. But in California, this burgeoning industry is becoming more and more common in everyday life. My legislation will safeguard consumers, examine the effect this technology may have on our workforce, and make sure that cities and states have a seat at the table when it comes to the decisions we make on autonomous vehicles.”
Lastly, on the passage of the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act Rep. Cárdenas said:
“As a small business owner, I know how difficult it can be to deal with the red-tape of government. When it comes to menu labeling, we need to ensure that consumers can get the information they need to make healthy choices, while not putting our local grocers and restaurants out of business. This bipartisan bill gives the FDA the guidance it needs to move forward with a pragmatic approach to menu labeling in restaurants, convenience stores, and similar retail food establishments.”
Ninety-five percent of emergency room personnel are not trained to identify and assist trafficking victims. The Stop, Observe, Ask and Respond (SOAR) to Health and Wellness Act supports efforts underway at the Department of Health and Human Services to combat human trafficking through the SOAR program, which provides comprehensive training for healthcare professionals to recognize warning signs and provide assistance. This legislation is key in the fight against trafficking because healthcare professionals are often on the frontlines of encountering victims and survivors. A report found that 87.7 percent of trafficking victims end up in a healthcare setting at some point while being exploited, including in clinics, emergency rooms, and doctors’ offices. The SOAR Act will close that gap in the healthcare setting and help tear down a significant barrier to identifying and saving victims.
H.R. 3404, incorporated as Section 9 of the SELF DRIVE Act, creates an Advisory Council on Highly Automated Vehicles at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This Council will explore the impact autonomous vehicles will have on employment and the labor force, environmental impact, consumer privacy and cybersecurity, and cabin safety. The membership of this advisory council will include a variety of stakeholders, including state and local authorities, emphasizing the need to keep our states and cities involved in the autonomous vehicles discussion. Los Angeles has been particularly active in getting ready for the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles, including with connected infrastructure.
Lastly, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, co-led by Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, would give retailers the flexibility they need to comply with the FDA’s menu labeling rule. This legislation clarifies a number of regulations to give food establishments the certainty they need to implement these policies. The bipartisan bill ensures that retailers won’t get lost in red tape trying to comply with the new regulations. This measure also improves existing menu labeling requirements by making them more consumer-friendly. The passage of this legislation will help move the FDA rule towards successful final implementation.