Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today introduced a bipartisan resolution, with five other Members of Congress, to promote the voluntary labeling of Internet content to protect children on-line without infringing on the freedom of expression rights of content providers.  

In an effort to promote widespread adoption of such technology, Congressman Adam Smith is working with the Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA), as well as children’s safety and First Amendment advocates, to encourage Members of Congress to voluntarily label the content on their Congressional websites.  The House resolution introduced today specifically urges all Members of Congress to label their sites consistent with the ICRA system or other voluntary Internet content filtering organizations.  Each of the resolution’s sponsors has already labeled their sites using the ICRA system.

“As policymakers and parents, we’re concerned for the safety of children as they use the Internet and enjoy the benefits it has to offer.  With 73 percent of American teens actively using the Internet, we need to help protect children without hindering the growth of the Internet or infringing upon our citizens’ First Amendment rights to free speech,” said Smith. “ICRA labeling fills this need because it allows consumers to make decisions about what content they wish to have their children access.  This industry-driven labeling system provides an effective system for protecting children against inappropriate information.”

ICRA has created a free system that empowers parents and other concerned adults to protect children from material they believe to be harmful while protecting freedom of expression.  ICRA does not rate content; content providers rate their own site content using the ICRA system.  ICRA makes no value judgments about which sites are suitable for children; parents do that.  The result is a voluntary system that helps keep children away from content their own parents deem inappropriate.

The Internet's most visited sites – AOL, MSN and Yahoo! – VeriSign, IBM, Verizon, and others today announced a major new initiative to protect children online.  The companies have rallied around the Internet Content Ratings Association (ICRA) and its voluntary website content label that flags adult, violent, and other material that might be harmful to children.  The organization is working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and others to promote Internet safety.  

“The high-tech community appreciates the support of Members of Congress,” said Mary Lou Kenny, executive director of ICRA North America.  “With leadership from policymakers such as Congressman Adam Smith and ICRA’s members, we can make the Internet safer for children without restricting the freedoms of content providers.”

To self-label, content providers simply fill out in an online questionnaire describing the content of their site in terms of what is and isn't present.  Context variables are included to distinguish content that may be presented in an educational, artistic or medical context.  ICRA then generates a content label in the form of a META Tag, which the web site author adds to the source code of his/her site.  

Internet users then download an ICRA filter, to be launched early next year, which reads the content label and filters according to the subjective preferences of the user.  After the filter is in place, parents can override the system by using a password.  It is both free to label and free to filter with ICRA.

"Labeling and filtering of Internet content that is truly voluntary is an approach that empowers parents and respects our nation’s fundamental commitment to free expression," Smith continued. "While the ICRA system is one of the many options available to help protect children on the Internet, it is appropriate for House use because it is readily available at no cost to content providers or users, created by a non-profit, independent organization and uses an internationally recognized syntax to describe website content.  I am proud to be among the first few Members of the House of Representatives to have an ICRA rated Web site, and I hope this resolution helps spread the word about this important tool."

For more information on the Internet Content Rating Association, please visit their website at www.icra.org

The following is an invitation from Congressman Adam Smith (Tacoma - 9):

“As the largest buyer of goods and services in the world, the U.S. federal government awards millions of subcontracts a year to businesses around the country. But doing business with the federal government can be a bureaucratic maze and many companies routinely forgo applying for government contracts because of the obstacles they perceive to be involved. 

“I am committed to working with small businesses, helping them work with federal and local governments, and encouraging investment so that the Puget Sound region economy continues to grow.

“On Friday, May 31 I will host a procurement conference to assist area businesses in obtaining government contracts and establishing working relationships with different agencies within the federal government.

“The conference will be an excellent opportunity for the business community and federal agencies to network with small business suppliers, contractors and subcontractors. Many federal agencies, large-business prime contractors, and technical assistance providers have been invited, including the Department of the Army, the Department of the Air Force, the Small Business Administration, Boeing and more.

“If you are interested in attending this conference please contact Lori Wemmer in my district office at (253) 593-6600, or by email at Lori.Wemmer@mail.house.gov.” 

WHAT: Congressman Smith’s “Doing Business with America” Conference 

WHERE: 1717 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98402 - Jury Assembly Room

WHEN:  Friday, May 31, 2002 - 8:30 am to 12:00 pm

Congressman Adam Smith (Wash. - 9) today sent a letter to Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao regarding a Department of Labor regulation that could result in the closure of a local post office in Tumwater.  The Tumwater post office is currently housed in space leased from the Safeway Corporation.  Due to a complicated regulatory arrangement, Safeway will have to close the Tumwater post office, and nine others around the country that operate in such a manner, unless action is taken by the Department of Labor.

Click here to view letter.

Today at a reception for the top 15 student submissions, Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) announced the winners of the Congressional Art Contest from the Ninth District.  Jonathan Bachus of Yelm was awarded first place for his linoleum block print titled “Matt,” second place went to Kandis Fries of Spanaway for her watercolor “Washington’s Coastline” and Yelm’s Kourtnee Vanneman received third place for her “Iguana bi Night” linoleum.

“It is always wonderful to see the art and creativity of the students of the Ninth District.  The Congressional Art Contest allows us to show off their talents to the rest of the county and to encourage them to strive for even greater heights with their art,” Congressman Adam Smith said.

Every year for the last 21 years, Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have held art competitions in their Congressional districts.  Members bring the winning piece from their district back to Washington, D.C. to be displayed in a corridor of the U.S. Capitol.  

This year, Congressman Smith convened a judging panel consisting of Benjii Bittle, member of the Tacoma Arts Commission, Neil Watson, chief curator of the Museum of Glass, Miriam Barnett, visual artist and chair of the WA State Arts Commission, Marilyn Mahoney, visual artist and member of Tacoma Art Commission and Michael Johnson, visual artist professor at the University of Puget Sound and member of Tacoma Art Commission.

In addition to having his submission displayed at the U.S. Capitol, first place winner Jonathan Bachus will be flown to Washington, D.C. compliments of Southwest Airlines to participate in the opening of the 2002 Congressional exhibition.  In the past, representatives of the arts community participating in the opening celebration have included Tom Cruise, Dean Cain, Billy Baldwin and Sarah Jessica Parker.  Jonathan will also receive a $12,000 scholarship to the Savannah College of Art and Design, as well as a year’s membership to both the Seattle and Tacoma Art Museums.  His art teacher, Gordon Kells-Murphy, will receive free admission for their class to the Tacoma Art Museum.  Mr. Kells-Murphy is also the teacher for third place winner Kourtnee Vanneman.

Second place winner Kandis Fries and third place winner Kourtnee Vanneman will have their pieces exhibited in Congressman Smith’s district office for one year after the event, where visitors from throughout the Ninth District will be able to view the art.  Both artists will also receive a year’s membership to the Seattle and Tacoma Art Museums.  The top 15 submissions will be exhibited at the Washington State History Museum from May 7 through May 13.

Tomorrow, Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) will host a town hall meeting in Puyallup with interested district residents to talk about health care issues in the state.  All district residents are invited join him for an open dialogue on other important community issues in addition to health care— including energy, the economy, tax cuts and education.

Saturday, May 11th — Puyallup 
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Puyallup Public Library
324 South Meridian, Puyallup

Staff from Congressman Adam Smith’s District Office will be on hand to help with any specific problems related to the federal government. Any questions about the Town Hall Meetings should be directed to the Congressman’s District office in Tacoma at (253) 593-6600.  For a recent audio statement from the Congressman on the Medicare reimbursement rate problem in the state, visit our website at www.house.gov/adamsmith