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FCC Gets a New Voice in Congress | Downtown Moves

Sara Morris, the incoming acting director of the Federal Communications Commission‘s office of legislative affairs, shouldn’t be surprised if members of Congress ring her soon about the agency’s new rule clearing the way for cellphone use on airplanes.

With legislation already introduced to prohibit cellphone conversations on commercial flights, the FCC has found itself on the business end of irate policymakers and citizens who want to keep the skies phone free. “This legislation is about avoiding something nobody wants: nearly 2 million passengers a day, hurtling through space, trapped in 17-inch-wide seats, yapping their innermost thoughts,” Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said last week in a statement announcing his innermost thoughts on the topic. He might as well have been quoting Cake’s “No Phone” song: “No phone, no phone, I just want to be alone.”

Morris will start her new job on Jan. 2, and is coming over from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, according to an FCC statement. “She is extraordinarily well positioned to forge strong relationships across government that will serve the public interest by advancing effective communications policy,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in the statement.

Howdy Partners!

Mega-firm Venable LLP has moved five of its attorneys to partner status, including in the Washington office. The five are Matthew D. Field, who hangs his hat in the Regulatory Group in Washington; Kishka F. McClain, a litigator and negotiator in Venable’s Tysons Corner, Va., and Washington offices who dabbles mainly in employment litigation, as well as advising on health care and drug costs; Amy J. McMaster, who works in the Washington office on issues including the environment, land use and transportation; Jennifer L. Nassiri, who works in the firm’s Los Angeles office in the Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights Group, and Ari Rothman, an expert in telecom, trademark and related issues.

Doing It for the Kids

The American Academy of Pediatrics has hired Aaron Emmel as its global health advocacy initiatives manager in the academy’s Washington department of federal affairs. The position is a new one. Emmel previously worked at PATH, an international nonprofit focused on global health issues.

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