North Star Newsletter: Giving Cellphone Users a Choice in the Marketplace

Senator Al Franken
2013-03-26 12:38:44
North Star Newsletter | March 2013 Giving Cellphone Users a Choice in the Marketplace Until recently, when your cellphone contract ended, you had a legal right to unlock your phone and take your business to a different carrier. Unfortunately, in October, the Library of Congress (which, unbeknownst to many, has authority over these matters) decided that consumers would no longer be able to legally unlock their phones. That means that when you move to a different wireless provider, you have to buy a new phone – or face the risk of criminal penalties – and that's just not fair to consumers. That's why, along with a bipartisan group of my colleagues in the Senate, I've introduced legislation that will once again allow consumers to unlock their cellphones and choose the best wireless service available when their contract runs out. Giving consumers a choice in the wireless market is just common sense, and it will save families money. I'm hopeful that we'll be able to get this passed through Congress quickly. My Second Annual Poetry Contest for Minnesota’s Military Children Every April, we observe the "Month of the Military Child" to recognize the sacrifices made by the children of our service members as their parents are away protecting our country. We also celebrate "National Poetry Month," and as a way to mark these occasions, I'm hosting my second annual poetry contest for Minnesota's military children. The contest is open to all children of military families in Minnesota grades K-12. This includes children who have parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, or uncles who are either current members of the military or military veterans. Being part of a military family isn’t easy, and it's important that we recognize the sacrifices made not only by the men and women serving across the world, but also by their children. For information on submitting a poem, please click here. Keeping Our Courthouses Safe from Violence In recent years, we've seen a rise in courthouse violence all over the country, and unfortunately, Minnesota hasn't been immune to this crisis. Earlier this month, I reintroduced a bill that I originally authored after a 2011 shooting at the Cook County Courthouse in Grand Marais that injured three people, including the Cook County Attorney. My bill would give courthouses all over Minnesota access to the resources they need to keep our courthouses safe – things like metal detectors, screening devices, and training for security officers. I'm going to keep fighting to pass this legislation because Minnesota's local sheriffs and courthouse personnel shouldn't have to put their lives on the line to do their jobs and keep the rest of us safe. Protecting an Important Olympic Wrestling Tradition Earlier this year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that it planned to eliminate wrestling from the games starting in 2020. As a former wrestler myself, I've always been proud of Minnesota’s long wrestling tradition – we've sent at least one wrestler to every Olympics since 1968 – and it's important to me that our wrestlers still have an opportunity to compete on the international stage. That’s why, along with a bipartisan group of senators, I've introduced a resolution urging the IOC to reverse its decision to eliminate wrestling. We’ve also been joined by a group of U.S. Representatives – led by Minnesota Congressman Tim Walz – with a similar resolution. Wrestling is important to athletes and families all over Minnesota and all over the world, and I'm going to continue to do everything I can to save this Olympic tradition. To unsubscribe from these newsletters, please visit the unsubscribe page here: franken.senate.gov/

North Star Newsletter | March 2013

Until recently, when your cellphone contract ended, you had a legal right to unlock your phone and take your business to a different carrier. Unfortunately, in October, the Library of Congress (which, unbeknownst to many, has authority over these matters) decided that consumers would no longer be able to legally unlock their phones. That means that when you move to a different wireless provider, you have to buy a new phone – or face the risk of criminal penalties – and that's just not fair to consumers.

That's why, along with a bipartisan group of my colleagues in the Senate, I've introduced legislation that will once again allow consumers to unlock their cellphones and choose the best wireless service available when their contract runs out. Giving consumers a choice in the wireless market is just common sense, and it will save families money. I'm hopeful that we'll be able to get this passed through Congress quickly.

Every April, we observe the "Month of the Military Child" to recognize the sacrifices made by the children of our service members as their parents are away protecting our country. We also celebrate "National Poetry Month," and as a way to mark these occasions, I'm hosting my second annual poetry contest for Minnesota's military children.

The contest is open to all children of military families in Minnesota grades K-12. This includes children who have parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, or uncles who are either current members of the military or military veterans. Being part of a military family isn’t easy, and it's important that we recognize the sacrifices made not only by the men and women serving across the world, but also by their children. For information on submitting a poem, please click

In recent years, we've seen a rise in courthouse violence all over the country, and unfortunately, Minnesota hasn't been immune to this crisis. Earlier this month, I reintroduced a bill that I originally authored after a 2011 shooting at the Cook County Courthouse in Grand Marais that injured three people, including the Cook County Attorney. My bill would give courthouses all over Minnesota access to the resources they need to keep our courthouses safe – things like metal detectors, screening devices, and training for security officers.

I'm going to keep fighting to pass this legislation because Minnesota's local sheriffs and courthouse personnel shouldn't have to put their lives on the line to do their jobs and keep the rest of us safe.

Earlier this year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that it planned to eliminate wrestling from the games starting in 2020. As a former wrestler myself, I've always been proud of Minnesota’s long wrestling tradition – we've sent at least one wrestler to every Olympics since 1968 – and it's important to me that our wrestlers still have an opportunity to compete on the international stage.

That’s why, along with a bipartisan group of senators, I've introduced a resolution urging the IOC to reverse its decision to eliminate wrestling. We’ve also been joined by a group of U.S. Representatives – led by Minnesota Congressman Tim Walz – with a similar resolution. Wrestling is important to athletes and families all over Minnesota and all over the world, and I'm going to continue to do everything I can to save this Olympic tradition.

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