PolitiHacks Digest: Week of 11 March

I am certain that these [immigration reform] efforts, including the creation of a Startup Visa category, Will send a signal to the World that our country is not only “open for business” but also very eager to welcome highly skilled and highly motivated immigrants who share the dream of succeeding in America.
Deepak Kamra, Canaan Partners

What You Need to Know:

  1. Cellphone unlocking petition crosses 100k signatures, gets favorable response from White House, leading to Congressional introduction of bills to fix the problem.
  2. Sponsor of cybersecurity bill CISPA wants to hear from us what we’re worried about in the bill. Let me know, and I’ll pass along the responses.
  3. California is retroactively taxing startups and investors due to bungling the implementation of a tax break from 2008. California Business Defense launched to fix the problem.

What’s Going On in DC: 

Congress: Wait, entrepreneurs have a difficult time immigrating to the US?

The big news this week was Tuesday’s immigration hearing, focusing on high-skilled immigration reform, with a huge chunk of time dedicated to discussing providing visas andgreen cards for entrepreneurs and technical researchers. VC Deepak Kamra testifiedand told his personal story in making the case for these reforms.

Want to have an impact? Sign onto the March for Innovation.

TechNet to Congress: Now is the time for immigration reform

TechNet says: “With immigration reform front-and-center, we are looking to organize a CEO signature letter in coordination with other tech associations for use and promotionjointly and respectively for all participating.”

If you’re interested in signing on, go for it.

Cellphone Unlocking: Why the petition response doesn’t matter, but the bills do

HackerNews debated the White House’s response to the cellphone unlocking petition. They’re right that the petition response was, “Hey, we agree with you and can’t do anything.” But the petition’s success was also accompanied by three bills being introduced to accomplish the petition’s goals.

Our next job is to track these bills and tell Congress to finish the job. Check outfixthedmca.org to sign on. YC, EFF, and many others are already on board.

DC Comes to SXSW: Listen, Learn, and Talk

Sens. Landreiu, Moran, and Warner, as well as Reps. Polis and Issa made appearances at SXSW—and possibly others, and many more staff. They came to discuss startup policy and to learn from entrepreneurs and other SXSW attendees. It’s good to see DC learning that SXSW is a great opportunity to plug into startups.

PolitiHacks News: Hacking Congress with Rep. Polis and startup policy for 2013

Congressman Polis had an excellent session with the PolitiHacks team on Sunday, with one takeaway being how Congress prioritizes various types of contacts: phone calls matter; petition signatures do not. I’ll write more about this next week.

We’re also convening a discussion on what issues we expect Congress to address that affects us, which will allow for more effective collaboration to fix problems affecting you through government action.

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