U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced a package of bills today (Tuesday, Jan. 25) including
proposals to help victims of identity theft and breast cancer and to set aside more land for
national parks in California.
Along with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.), Feinstein introduced legislation to continue the
sale of 45-cent "breast cancer stamps" by the U.S. Post Office, from which 37 cents goes for
postage and 8 cents for breast cancer research. Feinstein said that since the initial legislation
authorizing the stamp was enacted in 1997, $42.66 million was raised through the sale of 588.3
million stamps. Seventy percent of the charitable proceeds go to research programs at the National
Institutes of Health, and 30 percent to Department of Defense breast cancer research programs.
Feinstein said that her program to prevent identity theft is multi-faceted. It includes a "Privacy
Act" to "set a national standard for protecting personal information such as Social Security
numbers, driver's licenses, and medical and financial data, including information collected both
online and offline."
Feinstein said her bill is modeled on California's financial privacy law and requires companies to
let consumers make the decision whether information of this type about them can be shred.
Another part of her anti-identify theft package she calls the "Social Security Number Misuse Act"
which, she said, would prohibit "the sale or display of Social Security numbers to the
public" and require that "Social Security numbers be taken off public records published on the
The third part Feinstein calls the "Notification of Risk to Personal Data Act." This one, also
modeled on a California law, would "require a government entity to notify an individual when it
appears that a hacker has obtained unencrypted personal data" and would have the Federal Trade
Commission levy fines of $5,000 per violation of up to $25,000 per day while the violation
"I strongly believe individuals have a right to be notified when their most sensitive information
is compromised--because it is truly their information," Feinstein said.
U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) was expected to cosponsor a House version of a a bill to study
whether "The Rim of the Valley," including the mountains surrounding the San
Crescenta, Santa Clarita, Simi and Conejo Valleys in Southern California, "warrants national park
status," Feinstein said.
The study would have the Interior Department examine impacts to wildlife, endangered plant and
animal species, as well as on private landowners, if the area were designated a national park.
"This parcel of land is unique because of its rare Mediterranean ecosystem and wildlife corridor
that stretches north from the Santa Monicas," Feinstein said. "With the population growth
forecasted to multiply exponentially over the next several decades, the need for parks to balance
out the expected population growth has become critical in California."
Feinstein also said she is joining Rep. Tom Lantos
(D-Calif.) in proposing the addition of 4,700 acres of natural land to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
(See Previous story), and will work with U.S. Rep. George Radanovich (R-Calif) in adding money to the budget for Yosemite National Park to provide supplemental funding for the schools attended by about 130 children of park workers.
The bill is necessary to "prevent students from having to be driven more than 45 miles to and from school each day," Feinstein said. "Children who live in Yosemite National Park should not suffer because they live in remote schools and lack access to larger public schools."
Another measure, "The Redwood National Park Adjustment Act" would add 25,500 acres of land known as the Mill Creek property and another 900 acres of land added to state redwood parks within the national park's boundaries. "The Mill Creek property was purchased in an historic effort to conserve the redwood forest, provide watershed protection and protect wildlife habitats," Feinstein said
"Our redwood trees are treasures that need to be protected and preserved. These efforts will ensure that this forest is protected for future
generations and that the coho salmon who return to spawn in the clear, cool waters of this forest are safeguarded." U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif) is sponsoring companion legislation in the House Of Representatives.