from the nanotechnology-goes-to-Washington dept.
Gina Miller writes "House Gets Own Nanotech Legislation to Consider, a story carried on dc.internet.com on Oct. 18, reports legislation introduced into the US House of Representatives that would establish an independent advisory board comprised of leaders from industry and academia to provide oversight related to the government's National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI)." "The Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Advisory Board Act was introduced by Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., a member of the House Science Committee whose district includes Silicon Valley." The article quotes Honda on both the importance of nanotechnology and the importance of preparing for the novel issues that nanotechnology will raise:
"It will take many years of sustained federal investment for the nanotechnology industry to achieve maturity, and it is critical that the President has structures in place to ensure that the U.S. leads the world in its development," Honda said in a statement. "The federal government's nanotechnology strategy must have clear goals and metrics to assess our country's progress. Additionally, nanotechnology will give rise to a host of novel social, ethical, philosophical and legal issues. It will be important to have a group in place to predict and work to alleviate anticipated problems."
The Honda bill echoes a bill already passed by the Senate Commerce Committee, the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act, which awaits consideration by the full Senate. [See previous nanodot posts Senate Bill to fund ethical, social nanotech studies and Senate Committee passes nanotech bill].
A slightly more detailed report on the same topic was carried by Small Times: California Congressman Introduces New Nanotech Bill In U.S. House reports that a second nanotechnology bill may be introduced into the House by Science Committee chairman, Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, (R-NY), that would be comparable to the bill passed by the Senate Committee. The relationship of the two House bills was not yet clear. The story quotes support for the Honda bill by Norm Wu, managing director of Alameda Capital, and by Meyya Meyyappan, director of the Center for Nanotechnology at the NASA Ames Research Center.
Both articles make the point that the National Nanotechnology Initiative currently exists at the whim of the president, without its own dedicated staff or budget, and that the Honda Bill would give the NNI more influence and security than it currently has.