Collins Praises Inclusion of CLOUD Act in Funding Package

Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), who introduced the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act in the House this February, released the following statement in response to its inclusion in the newly released funding bill:

“The CLOUD Act frames a path for guarding the privacy of American data while enabling law enforcement to combat crime and terrorism in the digital age, and I welcome the inclusion of this thoughtful solution in a bill that also brings crucial funding to our troops. The 21st-century never fails to bring us new challenges, and it’s the job of Congress—not the courts—to deliver balanced updates like the CLOUD Act to our statutes.”

Collins introduced the bill with a bipartisan group of lawmakers including lead cosponsor Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and cosponsors Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Tom Marino (R-Pa.) and John Rutherford (R-Fla.). Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) led the introduction of the CLOUD Act in the Senate.

The legislation would better balance the interests of cloud users while incentivizing bilateral agreements for law enforcement to fight crime.

Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act of 2018 Pillars:

  • Bilateral Agreements: The CLOUD Act enables the United States to enter into formal agreements with other nations to set clear standards for cross-border investigative requests for digital evidence. The CLOUD Act further identifies a series of statutory requirements that these agreements must satisfy, including privacy and security protections.
  • Extraterritoriality of U.S. Warrants and International Comity: The CLOUD Act amends U.S. law to make clear that U.S. warrants and other legal process issued for data held by communications providers reach data stored anywhere in the world. The reach of U.S. warrants and legal process, however, would be limited by international comity. The CLOUD Act would give providers, for the first time, a statutory right to challenge legal process based on international comity concerns.
  • Transparency: When a communications provider receives a request from U.S. law enforcement related to a national or resident of a country that has entered into a bilateral agreement with the United States, the provider will be permitted to notify that government of the existence of the request. This will allow the foreign government to assess compliance with the terms of the bilateral agreement and enable it to intervene diplomatically if it believes the request is inappropriate.

Reciprocity: The CLOUD Act would also require participating countries to remove legal restrictions that prevent compliance with data requests from U.S. law enforcement. To qualify for the statutory benefits of the legislation (removal of the U.S. blocking statute, a right for providers to object based on international comity and a right for providers to notify the government of the existence of requests), a foreign government must provide reciprocal rights and benefits to U.S. law enforcement and communications providers.

Time To Get Started On Getting Your 2018 Georgia Bass Slam

Catch five different bass species and you have a Georgia Bass Slam! The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) introduced the Georgia Bass Slam last year to recognize anglers with the knowledge and skill to catch different species of bass in a variety of habitats across the state, while also stimulating interest in the conservation and management of black bass and their habitats and 15 anglers managed to grab their own Slam – will you get one in 2018?

Georgia Bass Slam

“Black bass are the most sought after group of species in North America, and for the Georgia Bass Slam we recognize ten different black bass,” says Matt Thomas, Chief of WRD Fisheries Management. “The Slam challenges anglers to explore new habitats and different techniques to go beyond the species they normally target.”

Georgia’s ten (10) recognized native black bass species are largemouth, smallmouth, shoal, Suwannee, spotted (Alabama or Kentucky), redeye, Chattahoochee, Tallapoosa, Altamaha and Bartram’s.  Anglers can find out more about these eligible bass species, including images, location maps and more at

How Can You Participate? To qualify for the Georgia Bass Slam, fish must be caught within a calendar year, must be legally caught on waters where you have permission to fish, and anglers must provide some basic information on the catch (length, weight-if available, county and waterbody where caught) accompanied by several photos of each fish.  Anglers will submit information to for verification. Complete rules posted at

 What is Your Reward? Well, besides bragging rights among all the anglers and non-anglers you know, you will receive a certificate worthy of framing, two passes to the Go Fish Education Center and some fantastic and fun stickers (for vehicle windows/bumpers) to advertise your achievement. Anglers will be recognized on the WRD website, at the Go Fish Education Center, and through a variety of social media platforms. In addition, all successful 2018 submissions will go into a drawing for a grand prize!

For more information, visit

Keeping Bears Out Of Neighborhoods and Yards

Historically, reports of black bear sightings increase each year after the start of spring when hungry bears emerge from their winter den sites. However, this year, offices already are reporting calls, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.

Black Bear Crossing Street

If left alone, bears typically will return to established bear range – the north Georgia mountains, the Ocmulgee River drainage system in central Georgia or the Okefenokee Swamp in the southeastern part of the state.  However, as wild land and urban areas increasingly overlap, bear range likely will continue to shift and expand – meaning even more sightings are possible – as evidenced in recent years in the Metro Atlanta area.

Where do these bears come from?

In the spring, most bears encountered outside of established range are young male bears looking for their own territory as they are no longer under the protection of a sow (i.e. the “mother” bear).   However, in some cases it may be sows with cubs or other mature bears venturing into new territory in search of a home and a steady source of food.


While there is no way to prevent a bear from wandering into a neighborhood, there are ways to discourage it from staying:

  • Never feed a bear. Keep items such as grills, pet food and bird feeders off-limits to bears. Clean and store grills when not in use. Keep pet food indoors and take down bird feeders (April-November) when bears are active in your area.
  • Use “bear-proof” garbage containers, or store garbage in the garage or other enclosed area until the morning of pick-up day.

Properly securing food and garbage prevents bears from accessing these non-natural, human-provided food sources, and helps avoid the unhealthy process of habituation that occurs when bears obtain food from people and begin associating humans with food.

If a bear is sighted in your neighborhood, here are some tips on how to respond:

  • Leave all bears alone. Usually they are only passing through an area.
  • Stay a safe distance away.  Do not try to approach a bear.
  • Never, under any circumstances, intentionally feed a bear.
  • Never attempt to ‘tree’ or corner a bear as it compromises the safety and welfare of both the public and the bear.

“Unless there is evidence of aggressive behavior or habituation to people, there is no cause for alarm,” said Adam Hammond, state bear biologist with the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division. “More and more, we are seeing bears show up and frequent areas outside of what we typically think of as ‘traditional bear range.’ Bears sighted during the winter months are most likely bears that have overwintered in the immediate area and have established their home range nearby. Bears are extremely adaptable wild animals and readily adjust their diet and habits to take advantage of non-natural, human-provided foods. Our directive to people is simple-make similar minor adjustments to your habits and lifestyle to live responsibly with bears.”

The black bear is a symbol of Georgia’s natural diversity, the only bear found in the state and a high-priority species in the state’s Wildlife Action Plan, a comprehensive conservation strategy. Though now considered the most common bear in North America, the species was nearly eradicated from Georgia in the 1930s due to unregulated market hunting, poaching and large-scale habitat loss. Sound wildlife management practices have restored Georgia’s black bears to a thriving population estimated at 5,100 bears statewide.

Black bears may legally be hunted during the season, which occurs each fall in Georgia in certain areas (  However, the taking of bears during any other time of the year or the taking of bears illegally during the hunting season is called poaching.  Prevent poaching of bears by reporting any illegal activity.  Information can be reported by email, phone or in person.  Visit for details.

For more information on how to live responsibly with bears, visit A video titled “Black Bears in Georgia: Sightings and Tips” is available at