This week, the American Booksellers Association announced that Neal Osten, federal affairs counsel for communications and interstate commerce at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), will be a speaker at ABA's first-ever Legislative Day in conjunction with BookExpo America. Osten will provide attendees with an update on the current status of Streamlined Sales and Use Tax legislation (SSUTA) in Congress.
"With the clock running out for this Congress, the prospects for passage of the Sales Tax Simplification and Fairness Act in 2006 are narrowing," Osten told BTW. "It is important that we work with our congressional sponsors in getting a Senate Finance Committee hearing before the Independence Day recess."
Osten will be one of the featured speakers at "2006 Retail Issues in the Congress and the Administration," the first of three half-hour "Legislative Briefings," planned from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., on Wednesday, May 17, at the Doubletree Crystal City and on Capitol Hill.
In his role as federal affairs counsel for communications and interstate commerce, Osten is responsible for federal state relations for the nation's 50 state legislatures with regard to the regulation of the communications industries, including technology and advanced telecommunications concerns. He also staffs NCSL's Executive Committee Task Force on State and Local Taxation of Telecommunications and Electronic Commerce. In this capacity, he has responsibility for sales tax simplifications, telecommunications tax reform, and business activity taxes.
Prior to joining NCSL, Osten served in the administration of President George Bush (the 41st) as director of the Office of Government Affairs and Public Information for Food and Consumer Services in the Department of Agriculture. Before joining the Bush administration, he was chief of staff for the assistant majority leader of the New York State Senate, Sen. Jay P. Rolison, Jr., of Poughkeepsie, and previous to that position, he was committee director for the Senate Banking Committee. He attended Villanova University and the School of Public Affairs at the State University of New York at Albany.
ABA's legislative briefings will include an update on Associated Health Plans, featuring Dawn P. Latham, CAE, director of public policy, for the American Society of Association Executives. Other briefing topics include literacy initiatives; sales tax holidays; credit and debit card interchange fees; and Americans With Disabilities Act guidelines.
The Legislative Day program begins at noon with a Welcome Lunch and remarks by Robert Barnett, senior partner at Williams & Connolly LLP and one of the premier authors' representatives in the world, and it will culminate with visits to Congressional Offices from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., followed by a Congressional Reception honoring First Amendment champion Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
Booksellers who would like to participate must RSVP to ABA by May 1, in order for the association to set up appointments with congressional members and appropriate legislative staff, as well as to prepare for lunch. To RSVP, contact Margaret Petrie at (800) 637-0037, ext. 6614 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Please put "Legislative Day" in the subject line of the e-mail.)
Additional information about Legislative Day, BookExpo America, and ABA's educational programming and special events is available at www.bookweb.org/aba/convention/.