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2015 State Policy Priorities 

In 2015, TechNet is focused on developing relationships, leveraging advocacy opportunities, and delivering key results for TechNet member companies. We will encourage states to adopt smart, adaptive, and long-range strategies that promote job growth and retention, encourage innovation, enhance global competitiveness, and provide services to constituents that adopt and improve upon successful, consumer-orientated models. Our work will encompass the following priorities:

Protect the Innovation Economy

The technology industry is a statewide, national, and international leader in job creation, product deployment, sustainable economic development, and global competitiveness. The high tech industry employs more than one million Californians. TechNet’s number one priority is to protect this economic engine and preserve California’s and the United States’ leadership in innovation and productivity. In furtherance of this fundamental purpose, TechNet will put additional focus on six specific initiatives.

1. Strengthening K-12 Education

TechNet supports state initiatives to establish and refine Computer Science education requirements aligned to CSTA standards and efforts to allow students to take Computer Science for fulfillment of a math or science graduation credit. By supporting such standards, it will provide students with the opportunity to develop 21st century skills – such as critical thinking, collaboration, and proficiency in science (including computer science), technology, engineering and math (STEM), and harnessing digital education to strengthen teaching and enable individualized learning strategies.

 2. Fostering research, development and investment, and the protection of intellectual property

TechNet supports investment in university research, strong state R&D tax credits — such as California’s permanent credit for qualified applied and basic research – and tax policies that enable companies to hire, invest, and compete. In addition to smart tax policy, TechNet will engage to prevent abusive patent litigation activities. Entities that do not invest in R&D or make or sell products shouldn’t be acquiring patents for the sole purpose of attacking successful businesses. TechNet will support legislation proposed in several states to combat bad faith, deceptive tactics through improved consumer protection laws.

3. Supporting and enhancing clean energy technologies and R&D

Energy is one of the fundamental building blocks of the economy. California leadership and its citizens have clearly and rightfully asked for a new focus on clean, reliable, and efficient energy sources, new generation capabilities, and sophisticated storage strategies that will provide dividends for future generations. TechNet supports state policies to spur deployment of clean energy resources such as fuel cells, solar, wind, demand-side, advanced clean combustion, and clean transportation, and will work diligently to advance them. TechNet also supports smart grid technologies that increase the reliability and resilience of the electric grid; enable clean technologies and electric vehicles; and help consumers reduce their electric bills. TechNet supports empowering consumers with access to their energy data and new tools to help consumers cut energy use.

4. Provide responsible stewardship for our natural resources and environment

New technologies are typically far more efficient than those they displace and can save the economy ten times the energy that they consume. Appropriate use of data analytics, information technology, and information sharing can help provide further efficiencies and positively impact consumer behavior. TechNet member companies have developed and maintain significant practices and policies to protect the environment and promote conservation, recycling, and reduce waste. Efforts to expand or create new programs should be inclusive, balanced, and data-driven in order to achieve stated aims and avoid significant disruption.

5. Promote broad access to the Internet and communication systems, while ensuring that consumers have a safe and secure experience

Embracing policies that expand access to the internet and technology, provide a safe and secure consumer experience, and promote strong industry competition while opposing provisions that would create unnecessary regulations or legal requirements that increase cost, reduce consumer choice, hamper innovation, and limit technology advancement and availability is a core TechNet value. Any creation of new legal or regulatory requirements should be directly tied to an identified harm, limited to gaps in existing coverage, focused on bad actors, and be narrowly tailored to avoid conflicts or discrepancies in the law and unintended consequences.

6. Smart cities and government

Technology holds the promise to increase the capacity of local and state governments to create a new level of constituent services, maximize available resources and better align priorities with local needs through monitoring, data collection, analysis and deployment. TechNet will focus on the development of policies that encourage efficient and effective adoption of these capabilities throughout the United States.