May 31, 2018

Cortez Masto Hosts Innovation State Initiative Roundtable

Innovation State Roundtable

Reno, Nev. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) hosted a roundtable with stakeholders at the Truckee Meadows Community College’s Applied Technology Center to discuss how Nevada can integrate technology in transportation, service delivery, housing and other sectors, as well as workforce development. Cortez Masto toured the center and learned about specialized programs in Nevada focused on emerging technologies. She also touted several bills she introduced in the Senate to advance her Innovation State Initiative and her efforts to strengthen Nevada’s leadership in technology.

“It’s crucial that we build on the momentum Nevada currently has in advancing technology and innovation in the state,” said Cortez Masto. “I’m pleased to hear directly from city officials and stakeholders on how we can further capitalize on our state’s success. We must continue to invest in smart growth and make sure we are preparing young Nevadans for success in the tech industry. It’s exciting to hear what Nevada cities are doing to transition into SMART cities and how local businesses are playing a part in creating jobs and diversifying Nevada’s economy. I look forward to continue working with stakeholders and local officials to create more opportunities for growth and innovation as we look toward the future.” 

Attendees of the roundtable included the Mayor of Reno and representatives from the City of Sparks, Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce, Builders Association of Northern Nevada, Reno Tahoe Airport Authority, Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority (REMSA), the University of Nevada, Truckee Meadows Community College, Desert Research Institute, and Switch. 

Cortez Masto introduced the following legislation in the Senate, which have all garnered bipartisan support:

Moving FIRST Act - Moving and Fostering Innovation to Revolutionize Smart Transportation (FIRST) Act 

  • The Moving FIRST Act creates a competitive Smart Communities Grant Challenge to provide yearly grants totaling $100 million to four awardees in large and medium cities, rural communities and regional partnerships. The legislation also makes smart community applications eligible for additional USDOT grants. It is co-sponsored by Senator Burr (R-N.C.) and Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Bill Nelson.

Safe DRONE Act - Safe Development, Research, and Opportunities Needed for Entrepreneurship (DRONE) Act

  • This legislation advances the safe integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). This includes reinstating a drone registration, developing a trained UAS workforce though community and technical colleges, extending the UAS test sites in Nevada, and outlining a formal regulatory strategy for the Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM). Various provisions of this bill have been included in the Senate’s FAA Reauthorization Bill. Cortez Masto led in sponsoring the bill with Senators Warner (D-Va.), Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Heller (R-Nev.). 

Code Like a Girl Act

  • This legislation creates two National Science Foundation (NSF) grant programs to encourage young girls to pursue computer science. It also provides grants to understand what motivates young girls to pursue STEM, or STEAM education. This legislation also offers funding for creating and testing scalable programs that can help develop and promote STEM and STEAM education in classrooms. It is cosponsored by Senator Moore Capito (R-W.V.).

SPEED Act - Streamlining Permitting to Enable Efficient Deployment of Broadband Infrastructure Act of 2017

  • This legislation eliminates regulatory roadblocks to telecom infrastructure deployment by creating limited exemptions from environmental and historical reviews by the FCC for communications infrastructure if sites already have undergone a review within the established public right-of-way. It is also sponsored by Senator Wicker (R-Miss.).

National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence Act of 2018 

  • This bill establishes the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence to provide necessary recommendations to the President and Congress concerning AI, machine learning, and associated technologies. Specifically, the Commission will be tasked with completing a yearly report that will consider competitiveness of the U.S. in AI in the realms of national security, economic security, public-private partnerships, and investment. It is cosponsored by Senator Ernst (R-Iowa).