Jun 13, 2017

Senators to clear up self-driving regulation laws

One of Waymo's self-driving minivans (Courtesy of Waymo)

The members of the Senate Commerce Committee said on Tuesday that their upcoming legislation on autonomous vehicles should "prevent conflicting laws and rules from stifling this new technology" — part of a package of high-level "principles" they say will undergird legislation they plan to introduce.

Why it matters: The companies invested in self-driving technology — from Silicon Valley players like Alphabet and Uber to Detroit mainstays — are freaked out by the prospect that they could face a patchwork of different laws and regulations depending on the jurisdiction, and they've been asking federal authorities to clear up disparities.

But wait, there's more: The senators (Republican Committee Chair John Thune and Democrats Bill Nelson and Gary Peters) also say they want their legislation to focus on cybersecurity and make sure that the development of self-driving technology isn't held up as regulators adapt their standards.

The big picture: Self-driving vehicles are having something of a moment in Congress, with the House Energy and Commerce Committee also putting together a package of legislation on the issue. The Eno Center for Transportation, a think tank, reported last week that one bill included in the legislative package would restrict how states can regulate autonomous vehicles:

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Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

Obama praises young protesters, urges mayors to pursue police reforms

Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

James Mattis condemns Trump as a threat to the Constitution

Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.