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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 18, 1998


I am pleased that the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday approved S. 2392, the "Year 2000 Information and Readiness Disclosure Act," which builds upon a proposal my Administration submitted to Congress in July. I urge Congress to act quickly to approve this critical legislation before the end of this session so that I can sign it into law. If it is not enacted this session, we will miss an important opportunity to help our Nation prepare its computer systems for the new millennium.

Only 469 days remain until January 1, 2000. For the millions of small businesses and small government entities around the world that are just now beginning efforts to prepare their computer systems for the transition to the next century, having access to technical information on how to solve the year 2000 computer problem may mean the difference between success and failure.

This important bipartisan legislation would help businesses and government agencies grapple with the Y2K problem. By limiting liability for good-faith information disclosures, the bill would encourage organizations to share year 2000 information, either directly or through republication. The increased flow of technical data on solutions will serve as an important jump-start to public and private sector Y2K efforts in the United States and abroad.

Business and government organizations need to be candid about the progress of their year 2000 efforts. This bill creates an environment in which organizations can communicate more openly with the public and with each other about the status of work on critical systems, and thus provide their customers and business partners with useful information about their Y2K progress.

This bill's protections are limited to those that are necessary to encourage greater information sharing. It does not shield companies from liability claims based on actual failures of products or services. Moreover, the bill protects consumers from misleading advertising or other statements when purchasing products for their own use.

This legislation has received support from numerous industry groups and state and local government associations including the National Governor's Association and the National Association of Counties. It has also received broad bipartisan support in Congress. In particular, I would like to thank Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Hatch, Ranking Member Leahy, and Senators Kyl, Bennett, and Dodd for their efforts in ensuring prompt consideration of this important issue. It is truly an example of how we can put aside our differences to create vital legislation that is in the public interest.