Nelson establishes Emerging Technologies Caucus to help legislature keep pace with rapid tech growth

HARRISBURG, June 3 – With states projected to spend more than $120 billion in technology improvements this year, first-term Pennsylvania state Rep. Napoleon Nelson determined it was time to establish a bipartisan House Emerging Technologies Caucus in the commonwealth.

The purpose, Nelson said, would be to have members of the PA House of Representatives follow the latest policy and regulatory developments, educate members and committees, and develop and pass legislation that advances tech innovation while supporting responsible growth for these new markets.

“Legislatures around the country are recognizing the fast-approaching economic opportunities and regulatory challenges of the emerging technologies space,” said Nelson, D-Montgomery, who holds degrees in computer science and finance from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Wharton School of Business, respectively.

“Artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, autonomous vehicles and blockchain technology are just a few of the emerging fields that are quickly becoming integral parts of our lives,” Nelson continued.

Among the duties of the Emerging Technologies Caucus, Nelson said, would be providing reasonable regulations and transparency that are critical to protecting the people of Pennsylvania while still attracting and retaining entrepreneurs.

“The House Emerging Technologies Caucus is a great example of the forward-thinking mindset we need to stay informed about evolving technology and determine how to best utilize it to serve the needs of all Pennsylvanians,” House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, said. “I applaud Representative Nelson for helping take the lead on this initiative, and I’m proud to support him.” 

This week, Nelson circulated an email to all colleagues from the House of Representatives inviting them to join the new Emerging Technologies Caucus. He said he’s currently working on several bills that address some of the issues surrounding new tech and plans a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing next month to further discuss the topic.