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Election-related AI bills advance out of Senate Rules

May 15, 2024
Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Klobuchar on Feb. 27, 2024. Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Three bipartisan AI and elections bills advanced out of the Senate Rules committee Wednesday.

Why it matters: The bills are the first major pieces of AI legislation to make it past committee this year.

  • The markup comes just hours after the bipartisan AI working group led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer released a sweeping report detailing how Congress should move on AI and called election-related bills a top priority.
  • Schumer, who backed the bills, has said he doesn't want to pursue a big AI legislative package, but rather move individual bills as they gain momentum.

Senators advanced the Protect Elections from Deceptive AI Act, the AI Transparency in Elections Act and the Preparing Election Administrators for AI Act.

  • There was some Republican opposition on the transparency and banning deceptive AI bills, with lawmakers pointing to the measures' potential overreach and interference with state rules.
  • But all of the measures, which Chair Amy Klobuchar previously broke down for Axios, were approved with manager's amendments detailing small changes to the text of the different bills.
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted by proxy for the Preparing Election Administrators for AI Act, and against the Protect Elections from Deceptive AI Act and the AI Transparency in Elections Act.

What they're saying: "Every elected official needs to put themselves in those shoes... and pretend that an ad is running that shows themselves saying something and it is not really them. That is what we're dealing with," said Klobuchar about the Protect Elections from Deceptive AI Act.

  • Voluntary commitments to ban deceptive AI content from tech companies is not enough, Sen. Mark Warner said: "The power of disinformation campaigns can be brought at an even greater level through AI."
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