The Hearing Protection Act of 2017, has just been introduced in the Senate by Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho as Senate Bill 59 (S.59). This is a good sign, since a bill introduced in both the House and the Senate can go through the process concurrently in both houses, dramatically reducing the amount of time it takes to get the bill passed in the full Congress. The bill is expected to face much more opposition in the Senate than its counterpart in the House.
S.59 has so far been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. According to the committee’s official website, it is currently chaired by Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah. Fortunately, Senator Crapo (the original sponsor) is also on the committee. Obviously, you should be writing your U.S. Senator and encouraging him to support the bill, but this is doubly important if your senator happens to be on the committee.
Of the House Judiciary Committee, Representatives Steven King (IA-4), Louie Gohmert (TX-1), John Ratcliffe (TX-4), Lamar Smith (TX-21), Jason Chaffetz (UT-3), Raul Labrador (ID-1), Ron DeSantis (FL-6), and Ken Buck (CO-4) are cosponsors of the bill. While this bodes well for the bill, whether the bill is ever passed out of the House Judiciary Committee depends entirely on the committee chairman, Representative Bob Goodlatte (VA-6).
In the House Committee on Ways and Means- which is chaired by Representative Kevin Brady (TX-8), the bill enjoys far less support, with Representative Jason Smith (MO-8) as the only cosponsor of the bill currently on the committee. Again, without the support of Representative Brady, the bill will not make it out of committee.
There has been no activity for the bill in either House committee since its referral on January 9th.
The full text of both the House and Senate versions of the bill are not yet available on the Congress.gov website, but both are expected to be identical to the 2015 version.
As always, write your federal legislators and encourage them to support, if not sponsor, the bill. Encourage the chairmen of the various committees that the bill is currently in to bring the bill up for a vote and push for its speedy passage.