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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment

Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment

Date: October 16, 2009
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Description: This report provides an overview of the major exceptions to the First Amendment - of the ways that the Supreme Court has interpreted the guarantee of freedom of speech and press to provide no protection or only limited protection for some types of speech. For example, the Court has decided that the First Amendment provides no protection to obscenity, child pornography, or speech that constitutes "advocacy of the use of force or of law violation ... where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action."
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The 2009 U.N. Durban Review Conference: Follow-Up to the 2001 U.N. World Conference Against Racism

The 2009 U.N. Durban Review Conference: Follow-Up to the 2001 U.N. World Conference Against Racism

Date: November 20, 2008
Creator: Blanchfield, Luisa
Description: This report provides information on the 2001 World Conference Against Racism and the circumstances of U.S. withdrawal. It discusses preparations for the Durban Review Conference, including U.S. policy and reaction from other governments. It highlights possible issues for the 111th Congress, including the Review Conference preparatory process, U.S. funding of the Conference, and the political and diplomatic impact of U.S. engagement.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The "Son of Sam" Case: Legislative Implications

The "Son of Sam" Case: Legislative Implications

Date: November 30, 1998
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Description: In Simon & Schuster, Inc. v. Members of the new York State Crime Victims Board, the U.S. Supreme Court held that New York State's "Son of Sam" law was inconsistent with the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech and press. This report examines the Supreme Court decision and then considers whether its rationale renders the federal law unconstitutional. Concluding that it likely does, the report considers whether it would be possible to enact a constitutional Son-of-Sam statute. Finally, the report takes note of some state Son-of-Sam statutes that have been enacted since the Supreme Court decision.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The U.S. Postal Service and Six-Day Delivery: Issues for Congress

The U.S. Postal Service and Six-Day Delivery: Issues for Congress

Date: June 9, 2009
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy R.
Description: This report will examine the history of six-day mail delivery and analyze potential effects of reducing USPS delivery from six to five days. It will then examine legislative options for the 111th Congress.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The U.S. Newspaper Industry in Transition

The U.S. Newspaper Industry in Transition

Date: July 8, 2009
Creator: Kirchoff, Suzanne M.
Description: This report analyzes the current crises that the U.S. newspaper industry is facing in light of the recent economic downturn and the increasing number of readers who turn to the Internet for their news instead of to traditional media. Congress has begun debating whether the financial problems in the newspaper industry pose a public policy issue that warrants federal action.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Post Office and Retail Postal Facility Closures: Overview and Issues for Congress

Post Office and Retail Postal Facility Closures: Overview and Issues for Congress

Date: July 23, 2009
Creator: Kosar, Kevin R.
Description: The United States Postal Service (USPS) announced in May 2009 that it was considering the closure of 3,105 of its 4,851 post office branches and stations. Since the original announcement, the USPS has indicated that the number of possible closures may be more than 3,200. This report provides (1) information on this recent announcement; (2) historical data on the number of post offices and other retail postal facilities; (3) an explanation of the legal authorities relevant to retail postal facility closures; (4) a review of the retail postal facility closure processes, including data on public appeals of closures, and H.R. 658's proposed alterations to the processes; and (5) a concluding discussion that suggests observations and possible issues for Congress.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Siting of Wireless Communications Facilities: An Overview of Federal, State, and Local Law

The Siting of Wireless Communications Facilities: An Overview of Federal, State, and Local Law

Date: September 4, 2008
Creator: Ruane, Kathleen
Description: The siting of wireless communications facilities has been a topic of controversy in communities all over the United States. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 governs federal, state, and local regulation of the siting of communications towers by placing certain limitations on local zoning authority without totally preempting state and local law. This report provides an overview of the federal, state, and local laws governing the siting of wireless communications facilities.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Free Mail for Troops Overseas

Free Mail for Troops Overseas

Date: June 22, 2006
Creator: Stevens, Nye
Description: Members of the armed forces on duty in designated combat areas can send personal correspondence, free of postage, to addresses in the United States. There has never been a comparable provision of free postage for letters or packages sent from family members in the United States to loved ones in wartime service overseas. Two bills (H.R. 923 and H.R. 2874) have been introduced that would allow family members and, in the case of H.R. 2874, certain charities to send letters and packages to servicemen and women in combat zones free of postage. H.R. 923 in amended form as a bill that would allow service members overseas to send vouchers to family or loved ones that would be redeemable for the postage expenses of one letter of 15-pound package per month is included in the FY2007 Defense Authorization Act, which is now awaiting action in the Senate.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Free Mail for Troops Overseas

Free Mail for Troops Overseas

Date: August 22, 2006
Creator: Stevens, Nye
Description: Members of the armed forces on duty in designated combat areas can send personal correspondence, free of postage, to addresses in the United States. There has never been a comparable provision of free postage of letters or packages sent from family members in the United States to loved ones in wartime service overseas. Two bills (H.R. 923 and H.R. 2874) have been introduced that would allow family members and, in the case o H.R. 2874, certain charities to send letters and packages to service men and women in combat zones free of postage.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Free Mail for Troops Overseas

Free Mail for Troops Overseas

Date: October 19, 2006
Creator: Kosar, Kevin R.
Description: Members of the armed forces on duty in designated combat areas can send personal correspondence, free of postage, to addresses in the United States. There has never been a comparable provision of free postage for letters or packages sent from family members in the United States to loved ones in wartime service overseas. This report discusses two bills (H.R. 923 and H.R. 2874) that were introduced in the 109th Congress that would have allowed family members and, in the case of H.R. 2874, certain charities to send letters and packages to servicemen and women in combat zones free of postage.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Protection of Security-Related Information

Protection of Security-Related Information

Date: September 27, 2006
Creator: Stevens, Gina Marie & Tatelman, Todd B
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Changing Postal ZIP Code Boundaries

Changing Postal ZIP Code Boundaries

Date: June 23, 2006
Creator: Stevens, Nye
Description: This report discusses the changing of ZIP Code system and the implications of such an action. The process places responsibility on district managers, rather than local postmasters, to review requests for boundary adjustment, to evaluate costs and benefits of alternative solutions to identified problems, and to provide a decision within 60 days.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Open Access Publishing and Citatation Archives: Background and Controversy

Open Access Publishing and Citatation Archives: Background and Controversy

Date: June 22, 2006
Creator: Knezo, Genevieve J
Description: This report begins with an inventory of basic information: definitions and guides to histories of the growth of open access publishing and citation archives and descriptions of selected major open access activities. It moves on to summarize major points of difference between proponents and opponents of nongovernmental open access publishing and databases, and then highlights federal, including National Institutes of Health (NIH), open access activities and contentious issues surrounding these developments. The report also briefly describes open access developments in the United Kingdom (where a number of governmental and nongovernmental initiatives have occurred) and in the international arena. Finally, controversial issues which could receive attention in the 109th Congress are summarized.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Speech Material -- Fourth of July

Speech Material -- Fourth of July

Date: June 28, 1983
Creator: Congressional Reference Division
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Obscenity: A Legal Primer

Obscenity: A Legal Primer

Date: December 11, 1985
Creator: Reimer, Rita Ann
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Farm Product "Check-Off" Programs: A Constitutional Analysis

Farm Product "Check-Off" Programs: A Constitutional Analysis

Date: June 21, 2005
Creator: Vina, Stephen R
Description: This report begins with a brief introduction to check-off programs and then describes many of the First Amendment principles that have been discussed in checkoff cases. Next is an analysis of the first two challenges that reached the Supreme Court, as well as a brief discussion of subsequent lower court decisions. This report concludes with a discussion of Johanns v. Livestock Marketing Association and its possible implications for check-off programs.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Constitutionality of Proposals to Prohibit the Sale or Rental to Minors of Video Games with Violent or Sexual Content or "Strong Language"

Constitutionality of Proposals to Prohibit the Sale or Rental to Minors of Video Games with Violent or Sexual Content or "Strong Language"

Date: January 18, 2006
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Description: It has been proposed that Congress prohibit the sale or rental to minors of video games that are rated “M” (mature) or “AO” (adults-only) by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. This board is a non-governmental entity established by the Interactive Digital Software Association, and its ratings currently have no legal effect.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Proposals for Revision of the Communications Act of 1934: Telecommunications Issues

Proposals for Revision of the Communications Act of 1934: Telecommunications Issues

Date: November 19, 1982
Creator: Gilroy, Angele A
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
"Sensitive but Unclassified" Information and Other Controls: Policy and Options for Scientific and Technical Information

"Sensitive but Unclassified" Information and Other Controls: Policy and Options for Scientific and Technical Information

Date: February 15, 2006
Creator: Knezo, Genevieve J
Description: This report traces the evolution of "sensitive but unclassified" or SBU-related controls; summarizes actions taken to protect certain types of scientific and technical information; describes critiques of some control policies; and summarizes proposals and actions, including congressional, executive and other initiatives, to clarify these issues and develop policies that serve various stakeholders. It also raises issues that may warrant further attention.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Balancing Scientific Publication and National Security Concerns: Issues for Congress

Balancing Scientific Publication and National Security Concerns: Issues for Congress

Date: February 2, 2006
Creator: Shea, Dana A
Description: There is a lack of consensus regarding the best method of balancing scientific publishing and national security. The current federal policy, as described in National Security Decision Directive 189, is that fundamental research should remain unrestricted and that in the rare case where it is necessary to restrict such information, classification is the appropriate vehicle to do so. Other mechanisms restrict international information flow, where Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) control export of items and technical information on specific lists. Both EAR and ITAR contain a fundamental research exclusion, but this exclusion is lost if prepublication review of research results for sensitive information occurs.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Military Space Programs: Issues Concerning DOD's SBIRS and STSS Programs

Military Space Programs: Issues Concerning DOD's SBIRS and STSS Programs

Date: November 25, 2005
Creator: Smith, Marcia S
Description: This report discusses the Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS, formerly SBIRS-Low), managed by the Missile Defense Agency, which performs missile tracking and target discrimination for missile defense objectives.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Communications Act Revisions: Selected Issues for Consideration

Communications Act Revisions: Selected Issues for Consideration

Date: January 23, 2006
Creator: Gilroy, Angele A
Description: This report provides an overview of selected topics which the 109th Congress may address in its examination of telecommunications issues. The issues included in this report cover: broadband Internet regulation and access; broadcast indecency; digital television transition; Federal Communications Commission structure and reform; intercarrier compensation; media ownership rules; municipal deployment of broadband; public safety communications, the “savings clause” and monopoly issues; spectrum auctions; and universal service fund reform.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) and the Army's Future Combat System (FCS): Issues for Congress

The Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) and the Army's Future Combat System (FCS): Issues for Congress

Date: November 17, 2005
Creator: Feickert, Andrew
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Communications Act Revisions: Selected Issues for Consideration

Communications Act Revisions: Selected Issues for Consideration

Date: September 19, 2005
Creator: Gilroy, Angele A
Description: This report provides an overview of selected topics which the 109th Congress may address in its examination of telecommunications issues. The issues included in this report cover: broadband Internet regulation and access; broadcast indecency; digital television transition; Federal Communications Commission structure and reform; intercarrier compensation; media ownership rules; municipal deployment of broadband; public safety communications, the “savings clause” and monopoly issues; spectrum auctions; and universal service fund reform.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department