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Is Blumenthal Holding Back the Next Big Innovation in Auto Technology?

December 5, 2017 By Staff
Is Blumenthal Holding Back the Next Big Innovation in Auto Technology?

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) has placed a hold on legislation that would pave the way for driverless cars.

Is Connecticut’s senior senator standing between the American people and access to new, autonomous vehicle technology?

Tech news editor Greg Rogers reported on Friday that Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) was among two senators (along with Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.)) to put a ‘hold’ on legislation that would pave the way for the government to regulate and allow driverless cars, called the AV START Act in the U.S. Senate.

Recode reported on the AV START Act in October, back when the bill was moving along at a quick pace:

The Senate Commerce Committee just took the next step in creating what could be the new national standard for the testing and deployment of self-driving cars. The committee unanimously agreed to send its bill, called AV Start, to the Senate floor on Wednesday.

However, Bloomberg BNA reported more recently – on Friday – that the bill had stalled, in large part because of Blumenthal’s hold on the bill.

Democratic Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) confirmed that they each placed a hold on the bill when it was floated by them through the hotline process by their cloakroom.

…Blumenthal told reporters he was also holding up the bill because he continues to want to see a provision that would allow a human driver to take control manually back from the computer driver. He offered an amendment to that end during committee markup.

What’s more, according to Bloomberg BNA, Blumenthal is insisting on his provision even as a fellow Democrat, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), says that very provision wouldu “undermine the purpose of the bill.”

The House’s version of the Senate bill, called the SELF DRIVE Act, passed the House by voice vote in September.