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 Year: 2007
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The U.N. Law of the Sea Convention and the United States: Developments Since October 2003
On October 31, 2007, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to recommend Senate advice and consent to U.S. adherence to the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 1994 Agreement Relating to Implementation of Part XI of that Convention. This followed the statement by President Bush on May 15, 2007, urging “the Senate to act favorably on U.S. accession” to the Convention. CRS Issue Brief IB95010, The Law of the Sea Convention and U.S. Policy, serves as a basic CRS source for discussion of issues related to the United States and the Convention and Agreement, whereas this report focuses on events and issues that emerged since October 2003. It summarizes the committee’s proposed resolution of advice and consent in 2004 and presents some of the issues raised in support of and in opposition to U.S. adherence. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822504/
The Endangered Species Act and "Sound Science"
This report provides a context for evaluating legislative proposals through examples of how science has been used in selected cases, a discussion of the nature and role of science in general, and its role in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) process in particular, together with general and agency information quality requirements and policies, and a review of how the courts have viewed agency use of science. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847791/
The “Farm Bill” in Brief
This report briefly discusses federal farm support, food assistance, agricultural trade, marketing, and rural development policies are governed by a variety of separate laws. Many of these laws periodically have been evaluated, revised, and renewed through an omnibus, multi-year farm bill. These policies can be and sometimes are modified through free-standing authorizing legislation, or as part of other laws. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc820862/
The “Farm Bill” in Brief
This report discusses the farm bill, which renewed about every five years, governs federal farm and food policy. The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-171) is the most recent omnibus farm bill, covering a wide range of programs including commodity price and income support, farm credit, agricultural conservation, research, rural development, and foreign and domestic food programs, among others. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc805469/
The “Farm Bill” in Brief
Federal farm support, food assistance, agricultural trade, marketing, and rural development policies are governed by a variety of separate laws. Although many of these policies can be and sometimes are modified through freestanding authorizing legislation, or as part of other laws, the omnibus, multi-year farm bill provides an opportunity for policymakers to address agricultural and food issues more comprehensively. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc807595/
Congress’s Contempt Power: A Sketch
This report outlines the source of the contempt power, reviews major developments in the case law, and analyzes the procedures associated with each of the three different types of contempt proceedings. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822389/
Country-of-Origin Labeling for Foods
This report briefly discusses the USDA's FY2006 appropriation, which postpones rules requiring many retailers to provide country-of-origin labeling (COOL) for fresh produce, red meats, and peanuts until September 30, 2008. The report also discusses related legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29507/
The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape
The report discusses the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-Related Congressional Actions in the 112th Congress. The policymakers, including some in Congress, have long called for varying degrees and types of reform to the FCC. Most proposals fall into two categories: (1) procedural changes made within the FCC or through congressional action that would affect the agency's operations or (2) substantive policy changes requiring congressional action that would affect how the agency regulates different services and industry sectors. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821708/
The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act
President George W. Bush signed the Postal Enhancement and Accountability Act (P.L. 109-435) on December 20, 2006. This report briefly describes Congress’s pursuit of postal reform, summarizes the major provisions of the new postal reform law, and identifies possible P.L. 109-435 oversight issues for Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821620/
Nonimmigrant Overstays: Brief Synthesis of the Issue
This report discusses a fundamental problem of immigration control in which foreign nationals enter legally on a temporary basis and continue to stay after their visas expire. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821984/
Forestry in the 2007 Farm Bill
This report briefly describes the Agriculture Committees' jurisdiction over forestry, with examples of legislation addressed by the committees. It discusses forestry issues likely to be debated in the upcoming farm bill and presents information on the forestry provisions in the Administration's proposal for the 2007 farm bill, followed by the forestry provisions in the Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007 (H.R. 2419). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847560/
Arsenic in Drinking Water: Regulatory Developments and Issues
This report discusses the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments. These amendments directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to update the standard for arsenic in drinking water. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847753/
Exemptions from Environmental Law for the Department of Defense: Background and Issues for Congress
Over time, Congress has included exemptions in several environmental statutes to ensure that requirements of those statutes would not restrict military training needs to the extent that national security would be compromised. This report discusses these exemptions and congressional disagreement over the need for broader exemptions in the absence of data on the overall impact of environmental requirements on training and readiness. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847636/
Telecommunications Act: Competition, Innovation, and Reform
In 1996, Congress enacted comprehensive reform of the nation’s statutory and regulatory framework for telecommunications by passing the Telecommunications Act, which substantially amended the 1934 Communications Act. The general objective of the 1996 Act was to open up markets to competition by removing unnecessary regulatory barriers to entry. This report discusses the history of the law and examines current issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822467/
Federal and State Quarantine and Isolation Authority
This report provides an overview of federal and state public health laws as they relate to the quarantine and isolation of individuals, a discussion of constitutional issues that may be raised should individual liberties be restricted in a quarantine situation, and federalism questions that may arise where federal and state authorities overlap. In addition, the possible role of the armed forces in enforcing public health measures is discussed, specifically whether the Posse Comitatus Act would constrain any military role, and other statutory authorities that may be used for the military enforcement of health measures. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821464/
Burma: Economic Sanctions
This report provides background information on existing economic sanctions against Burma and possible options to expand sanctions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822677/
Wildfire Funding
This report briefly describes the three categories of federal programs for wildfire protection. One is to protect the federal lands managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (FS), and by the U.S. Department of the Interior, whose wildfire programs are coordinated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). A second category assists state and local governments and communities in protecting nonfederal lands; these programs are used to reduce wildland fuels, to otherwise prepare for fire control, to contain and control wildfires, and to respond after severe wildfires have burned. A third category of federal programs supports fire research, fire facilities, and improvements in forest health. The last section of this report discusses the impact of high and rising wildfire costs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821547/
Transportation Security: Issues for the 110th Congress
The focus of this report is how best to construct and finance a system of deterrence, protection, and response that effectively reduces the possibility and consequences of another terrorist attack without unduly interfering with travel, commerce, and civil liberties. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821551/
Extraterritorial Application of American Criminal Law
Crime is ordinarily proscribed, tried and punished according to the laws on the place where it occurs. American criminal law applies beyond the geographical confines of the United States, however, under some limited circumstances. The federal exceptions to the general rule usually involve crimes like drug trafficking, terrorism, or crimes committed aboard a ship or airplane. State prosecution for overseas misconduct is limited almost exclusively to multijurisdictional crimes, i.e., crimes where some elements of the offense are committed within the state and others are committed abroad. The Constitution, Congress, and state law define the circumstances under which American criminal law may be used against crimes occurring, in whole or in part, outside the United States digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26037/
Davis-Bacon: The Act and the Literature
The Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, as amended, requires that contractors, engaging in certain federal contract construction, pay workers on such projects not less than the locally prevailing wage for comparable work. In addition, such contractors are required to file payroll reports and to meet other administrative and labor standards requirements. Included in this report is a bibliography of published materials dealing with the Davis-Bacon Act and related issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26061/
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: An Overview of the Statutory Framework and U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review Decisions
This report discusses the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, and other related amendments that were included in the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc770540/
Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Legislation in the 110th Congress
Aquaculture — the farming of fish, shellfish, and other aquatic animals and plants in a controlled environment — is expanding rapidly abroad, with more modest advances in the United States. This report discusses the federal laws and regulations that guide the management of resources in open ocean and near-shore coastal areas. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc807517/
Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Legislation in the 110th Congress
Aquaculture — the farming of fish, shellfish, and other aquatic animals and plants in a controlled environment — is expanding rapidly abroad, with more modest advances in the United States. This report discusses the federal laws and regulations that guide the management of resources in open ocean and near-shore coastal areas. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc807177/
Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Legislation in the 110th Congress
Aquaculture — the farming of fish, shellfish, and other aquatic animals and plants in a controlled environment — is expanding rapidly abroad, with more modest advances in the United States. This report discusses the federal laws and regulations that guide the management of resources in open ocean and near-shore coastal areas. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc819991/
Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Legislation in the 110th Congress
Aquaculture — the farming of fish, shellfish, and other aquatic animals and plants in a controlled environment — is expanding rapidly abroad, with more modest advances in the United States. This report discusses the federal laws and regulations that guide the management of resources in open ocean and near-shore coastal areas. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc819922/
Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Legislation in the 110th Congress
Aquaculture — the farming of fish, shellfish, and other aquatic animals and plants in a controlled environment — is expanding rapidly abroad, with more modest advances in the United States. This report discusses the federal laws and regulations that guide the management of resources in open ocean and near-shore coastal areas. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc810943/
Clean Air Issues in the 110th Congress: Climate Change, Air Quality Standards, and Oversight
This report provides a brief overview of the climate change issue as well as other Clean Air Act issues the 110th Congress may consider. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822627/
Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Legislation in the 110th Congress
Aquaculture — the farming of fish, shellfish, and other aquatic animals and plants in a controlled environment — is expanding rapidly abroad, with more modest advances in the United States. This report discusses the federal laws and regulations that guide the management of resources in open ocean and near-shore coastal areas. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc820955/
Foreign Students in the United States: Policies and Legislation
This report examines various issues pertaining to foreign students in the United States. Since the Immigration Act of 1924, the United States has expressly permitted foreign students to study in U.S. institutions. Most foreign students are at least 18 years old and are enrolled in higher education programs. Foreign students are generally considered to enrich cultural diversity of the educational experience for U.S. residents as well as enhance the reputation of U.S. universities as world-class institutions. Concerns have arisen in recent years that have caused Congress to take a new look at the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provisions that govern their admission. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc820671/
Foreign Students in the United States: Policies and Legislation
This report examines various issues pertaining to foreign students in the United States. Since the Immigration Act of 1924, the United States has expressly permitted foreign students to study in U.S. institutions. Most foreign students are at least 18 years old and are enrolled in higher education programs. Foreign students are generally considered to enrich cultural diversity of the educational experience for U.S. residents as well as enhance the reputation of U.S. universities as world-class institutions. Concerns have arisen in recent years that have caused Congress to take a new look at the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provisions that govern their admission. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc807401/
Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties
This report discusses the issues surrounding whether or not the U.S. should grant Russia permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) following its accession into the World Trade Organization (WTO). The change in Russia's trade status will require legislation to lift the restrictions of Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974 as they apply to Russia, which includes the "freedom-of-emigration" requirements of the Jackson-Vanik amendment. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822606/
Access to Government Information In the United States
The Constitution of the United States makes no specific allowance for any one of the co-equal branches to have access to information held by the others and contains no provision expressly establishing a procedure for, or a right of, public access to government information. Nonetheless, Congress has legislated various public access laws. These include two records access statutes — the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act — and two meetings access statutes — the Federal Advisory Committee Act and the Government in the Sunshine Act. This report provides background on the issue of government transparency and examines relevant litigation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc820851/
Access to Government Information In the United States
The Constitution of the United States makes no specific allowance for any one of the co-equal branches to have access to information held by the others and contains no provision expressly establishing a procedure for, or a right of, public access to government information. Nonetheless, Congress has legislated various public access laws. These include two records access statutes — the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act — and two meetings access statutes — the Federal Advisory Committee Act and the Government in the Sunshine Act. This report provides background on the issue of government transparency and examines relevant litigation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc809951/
Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law
The Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 (MPRSA, P.L. 92-532) has two basic aims: to regulate intentional ocean disposal of materials, and to authorize related research. This report presents a summary of the law, describing the essence of the statute. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc812761/
Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law
The Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act has two basic aims: to regulate intentional ocean disposal of materials, and to authorize related research. Permit and enforcement provisions of the law are often referred to as the Ocean Dumping Act. The basic provisions of the act have remained virtually unchanged since 1972, when it was enacted to establish a comprehensive waste management system to regulate disposal or dumping of all materials into marine waters that are within U.S. jurisdiction, although a number of new authorities have been added. This report presents a summary of the law. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc820845/
Exporting Software and the Extraterritorial Reach of U.S. Patent Law: Microsoft Corp. v. AT&T Corp.
Generally speaking, United States patent law does not have extraterritorial effect. The exception, however, is § 271(f) of the Patent Act, which makes it an act of patent infringement to manufacture within the United States the components of a patented invention and then export those disassembled parts for combination abroad into an end product. This report discusses Microsoft Corp. v. AT&T Corp. (550 U.S. ___ , No. 05-1056, decided April 30, 2007), in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that software companies are not liable for patent infringement under § 271(f) when they export software that has been embodied in machine-readable, physical form (a CD-ROM, for example), with the intent that such software be copied abroad for installation onto foreign-manufactured computers. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821404/
Broadband Internet Regulation and Access: Background and Issues
This report discusses broadband Internet, examining what it is and the various technologies that allow for its transmission. Broadband or high-speed Internet access is provided by technologies that give users the ability to send and receive data at volumes and speeds far greater than access over traditional telephone lines; it also provides a continuous, "always on" connection (no need to dial-up) and a "two-way" capability, that is, the ability to both receive (download) and transmit (upload) data at high speeds. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821388/
Clean Air Act Issues in the 110th Congress: Implementation and Oversight
This report provides a discussion of several interrelated air issues of interest in the 110th Congress, including revision of the particulate standards, the role of independent scientific review in the setting of air quality standards, multi-pollutant legislation for electric power plants, mercury from power plants, and New Source Review. This report provides an overview of these issues; CRS reports that contain additional information and detailed sources are referenced in the appropriate sections. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821163/
Water Quality Issues in the 110th Congress: Oversight and Implementation
This report discusses issues surrounding the Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1972 and programs set up to meet the water quality standards that it outlined. The report focuses specifically on the legislative issues for the 110th Congress in relation to the CWA. It also includes a brief comparison of the expected appropriations for FY2007 and FY2008. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847727/
Journalists’ Privilege: Overview of the Law and Legislation in the 109th and 110th Congresses
This report examines laws pertaining to journalists' privilege. Most states afford journalists some protection from compelled release of their confidential sources. The question remains, however, as to whether a concomitant federal privilege exists. The Supreme Court has addressed the issue of journalists’ privilege under the First Amendment only once; in Branzburg v. Hayes, it left open the question of whether the First Amendment provides journalists with any privilege. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821425/
International Reaction to the Palestinian Unity Government
This report discusses the new Palestinian unity government, which established in March 2007 complicates U.S. policy toward the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the peace process. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821481/
Broadband Internet Regulation and Access: Background and Issues
This is one part in the series of reports that provide a background and analysis, and most recent developments regarding broadband or high-speed Internet access. The report starts out by answering questions; what is broadband and why is it important? This report also discusses broadband technologies, the status of broadband deployment and the related policy issues, as well as the legislation in congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822499/
Clean Water Act and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) of Pollutants
This report discusses the section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, which requires states to identify waters that are impaired by pollution, even after application of pollution controls. For those waters, states must establish a total maximum daily load (TMDL) of pollutants to ensure that water quality standards can be attained. Implementation was dormant until states and EPA were prodded by lawsuits. The TMDL program has become controversial, in part because of requirements and costs now facing states to implement this 35-year-old provision of the law, as well as industries, cities, farmers, and others who may be required to use new pollution controls to meet TMDL requirements. In July 2000, EPA issued revisions to strengthen the program. The rule was widely criticized, and congressional interest was high. The 2000 rule did not go into effect, and in March 2003, EPA withdrew the rule to consider whether to issue an entirely new rule or other options; no timetable has been announced. Consequently, the program continues to operate under regulations issued in 1992. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822431/
Hedge Funds: Should They Be Regulated?
In view of the growing impact of hedge funds on a variety of financial markets, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in October 2004 adopted a regulation that requires hedge funds to register as investment advisers, disclose basic information about their operations, and open their books for inspection. The regulation took effect in February 2006, but on June 23, 2006, a court challenge was upheld and the rule was vacated. S. 1402 and H.R. 2586 would reinstate the SEC's authority. H.R. 2683 would require defined benefit pension plans to disclose investments in hedge funds. In December 2006, the SEC proposed raising the "accredited investor" standard - to be permitted to invest in hedge funds, an investor would need $2.5 million in assets, instead of $1 million. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26047/
The Davis-Bacon Act: Institutional Evolution and Public Policy
This report examines policy issues the Davis-Bacon Act has sparked through the years and which remain a part of the Davis-Bacon debate of the 1990s. These include such questions as: wage rate determination procedures, reporting requirements under the Copeland Act, an appropriate threshold for activation of the statute, interagency relationships with respect to Davis-Bacon enforcement and compliance activity, administrative or judicial appeals procedures, the use of "helpers" and other low-skilled workers on covered projects, and the right of a President to suspend the statute as well as the conditions under which such a suspension may occur. That the fundamental premise of the Act remains in contention after 60 years may be, itself, part of the public policy debate. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26044/
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Legislation in the 110th Congress
This report reviews the status of energy efficiency and renewable energy legislation introduced during the 110th Congress. Action has focused on legislation to increase funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847714/
Perchlorate Contamination of Drinking Water: Regulatory Issues and Legislative Actions
This report reviews perchlorate water contamination issues and developments. Concern over the potential health risks of perchlorate exposure has increased, and some states and members of Congress have urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set a drinking water standard for perchlorate. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847501/
Safe Drinking Water Act: Background and Issues in the 109th Congress
This report examines the Safe Drinking Water Act, which is the key federal law for protecting public water supplies from harmful contaminants. First enacted in 1974 and broadly amended in 1986 and 1996, the act is administered through programs that regulate contaminants in public water supplies, provide funding for infrastructure projects, protect sources of drinking water, and promote the capacity of water systems to comply with SDWA regulations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821615/
Perchlorate Contamination of Drinking Water: Regulatory Issues and Legislative Actions
Perchlorate is the explosive component of solid rocket fuel, fireworks, road flares, and other products. Used mainly by the Department of Defense (DOD) and related industries, perchlorate also occurs naturally and is present in some organic fertilizer.This report reviews perchlorate water contamination issues and recent developments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822682/
Education for the Disadvantaged: Reauthorization Issues for ESEA Title I-A Under the No Child Left Behind Act
This report provides an overview of aspects of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Title I-A that are likely to be the focus of substantial debate as the 110th Congress considers the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) reauthorization legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821546/
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