Congress-The Senate Appropriations Committee, on August 2, approved the Fiscal Year 2010 spending bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related agencies, providing the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) nearly $139 million in funding-a $14 million budget increase from the previous year. This funding level is consistent with the president's budget request, and equal to the level approved by the House of Representatives in July.

Data Security Breach
CA - Has enrolled Sen. Simitian's (D) S.B. 20 into law, expanding upon a 2002 California law requiring any company or business that loses unencrypted personal information to send security breach notification letters to persons whose information was compromised. S.B. 20 now requires those letters to include the type of personal information that was exposed, a description of the incident, and when it took place.

The disclosure of information must be timely. Personal information includes, "an individual's first name or first initial and last name in combination with any one or more of the following data elements, when either the name or the data elements are not encrypted: (1) social security number, (2) driver's license number or California Identification Card number, (3) account number, credit or debit card number, in combination with any required security code, access code or password that would permit access to an individual's financial account, (4) medical information, and/or (5) health insurance information." Survey research professionals located in California or who have access to the personal information of California residents that become subject to a security breach should be aware of the scope of this law and develop appropriate security and response policies.

Cell Phones
Congress-Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT-05) has introduced H.R. 3535 (companion to the Senate's S. 1536), which would require states to impose bans on the writing and sending of text messages while operating a motor vehicle within two years. The federal Transportation Department would set minimum penalties for drivers. States failing to meet the two year deadline would lose 25 percent of their annual federal highway funding. H.R. 3535 is expected to be wrapped into a bigger transportation bill either later this year or next year and has a very good chance of becoming law. Survey and opinion researchers should develop appropriate policy for contacting respondents on mobile devices before this passes.