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 Country: United States
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program

Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program

Date: April 20, 2011
Creator: Kruger, Lennard G.
Description: The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Act (the "SAFER Act") was enacted by the 108th Congress as part of the FY2004 National Defense Authorization Act. This report describes the SAFER Act in brief, discusses possible budgetary modifications to the SAFER Act that are being considered due to the recent economic downturn, and explores related issues for the 112th Congress as they consider reauthorization.
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Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer

Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer

Date: April 22, 2011
Creator: Kerr, Paul K. & Nikitin, Mary Beth
Description: This report discusses section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA), the specific requirements of which must be met in order for the United States to engage in civilian nuclear cooperation with other states. The AEA also provides for exemptions to these requirements, export control licensing procedures, and criteria for terminating cooperation.
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Outer Continental Shelf Moratoria on Oil and Gas Development

Outer Continental Shelf Moratoria on Oil and Gas Development

Date: May 6, 2011
Creator: Hagerty, Curry L.
Description: Moratoria measures for the outer continental shelf (OCS) establish bans or restrictions on oil and gas exploration and development in federal ocean areas. With some exceptions for marine sanctuaries and monuments, no portion of the federal OCS has a permanent moratorium on oil and gas leasing and development. While some areas are under temporary development bans, such as suspensions or moratoria directed by either legislative or executive powers, most of the OCS is free of such restrictions and is considered permissible for offshore leasing activity.
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Offshore Oil and Gas Development: Legal Framework

Offshore Oil and Gas Development: Legal Framework

Date: May 2, 2011
Creator: Vann, Adam
Description: The development of offshore oil, gas, and other mineral resources in the United States is impacted by a number of interrelated legal regimes, including international, federal, and state laws. International law provides a framework for establishing national ownership or control of offshore areas, and domestic federal law mirrors and supplements these standards. This report discusses these issues.
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Piracy off the Horn of Africa

Piracy off the Horn of Africa

Date: April 27, 2011
Creator: Ploch, Lauren; Blanchard, Christopher M.; O'Rourke, Ronald; Mason, R. Chuck & King, Rawle O.
Description: This report discusses recent (2010) pirate attacks on vessels, including United States vessels, in the waters off the Horn of Africa. The Horn of Africa is sometimes called the Somali Peninsula and includes the nations of Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia. This report explores reasons behind the increased number of pirate attacks in recent years, as well as what efforts are being taken to combat said attacks, including those by the 111th Congress and President Obama and his Administration.
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The Army Corps of Engineers' Nationwide Permits Program: Issues and Regulatory Developments

The Army Corps of Engineers' Nationwide Permits Program: Issues and Regulatory Developments

Date: January 30, 2012
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: Permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorize various types of development projects in wetlands and other waters of the United States. The Corps' regulatory process involves two types of permits: general permits for actions by private landowners that are similar in nature and will likely have a minor effect on wetlands, and individual permits for more significant actions. The Corps uses general permits to minimize the burden of its regulatory program: they authorize landowners to proceed with a project without the time-consuming need to obtain standard individual permits in advance. About 90% of the Corps' regulatory workload is processed in the form of general permits.
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The Army Corps of Engineers' Nationwide Permits Program: Issues and Regulatory Developments

The Army Corps of Engineers' Nationwide Permits Program: Issues and Regulatory Developments

Date: December 28, 2010
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: Congressional interest in wetlands permit regulatory programs has been evident in the past in oversight hearings and in connection with bills to fund the Corps' regulatory programs. For some time, there has been a stalemate over legislation that would revise wetlands regulatory law and that could, if enacted, modify the nationwide permit program. During this time, no consensus has emerged on whether or how to reform overall wetlands policy legislatively. Recently, Obama Administration initiatives and actions intended to restrict harmful effects of surface coal mining activities in Appalachia have drawn congressional attention and criticism that is likely to continue in the 112th Congress and that could include oversight of the Corps' regulatory program generally.
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Congressional Lawmaking: A Perspective On Secrecy and Transparency

Congressional Lawmaking: A Perspective On Secrecy and Transparency

Date: November 30, 2011
Creator: Oleszek, Walter J.
Description: The objectives of this report are four-fold: first, to outline briefly the historical and inherent tension between secrecy and transparency in the congressional process; second, to review several common and recurring secrecy/transparency issues that emerged again with the 2011 formation of the Joint Select Deficit Reduction Committee; third, to identify various lawmaking stages typically imbued with closed door activities; and fourth, to close with several summary observations.
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Extraterritorial Application of American Criminal Law

Extraterritorial Application of American Criminal Law

Date: February 15, 2012
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: Crime is ordinarily proscribed, tried, and punished according to the laws of the place where it occurs. American criminal law applies beyond the geographical confines of the United States, however, under certain limited circumstances. A surprising number of federal criminal statutes have extraterritorial application, but prosecutions have been few. This may be because when extraterritorial criminal jurisdiction does exist, practical and legal complications, and sometimes diplomatic considerations, may counsel against its exercise.
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Federal Employees' Retirement System: Benefits and Financing

Federal Employees' Retirement System: Benefits and Financing

Date: February 14, 2012
Creator: Isaacs, Katelin P.
Description: Most civilian federal employees who were hired before 1984 are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System, and contribute 7.0% of their pay to a retirement fund. Federal employees hired in 1984 or later are covered by the Federal Employees' Retirement System and contribute 0.8% of their pay to a retirement fund. Both require participants to contribute toward the cost of their pensions through a payroll tax. The taxable wage base is $110,100 in 2012. This report discusses both retirement funds.
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Federal Employees' Retirement System: Benefits and Financing

Federal Employees' Retirement System: Benefits and Financing

Date: January 5, 2011
Creator: Isaacs, Katelin P.
Description: Most civilian federal employees who were hired before 1984 are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System, and contribute 7.0% of their pay to a retirement fund. Federal employees hired in 1984 or later are covered by the Federal Employees' Retirement System and contribute 0.8% of their pay to a retirement fund. Both require participants to contribute toward the cost of their pensions through a payroll tax. The taxable wage base is $106,800 in 2011. This report discusses both retirement funds.
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Federal Employees' Retirement System: Benefits and Financing

Federal Employees' Retirement System: Benefits and Financing

Date: September 15, 2010
Creator: Isaacs, Katelin P.
Description: Most civilian federal employees who were hired before 1984 are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System, and contribute 7.0% of their pay to a retirement fund. Federal employees hired in 1984 or later are covered by the Federal Employees' Retirement System and contribute 0.8% of their pay to a retirement fund. Both require participants to contribute toward the cost of their pensions through a payroll tax. The taxable wage base is $106,800 in 2010. This report discusses both retirement funds.
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Federal Employees' Retirement System: Summary of Recent Trends

Federal Employees' Retirement System: Summary of Recent Trends

Date: January 11, 2011
Creator: Isaacs, Katelin P.
Description: This report describes recent trends in the number of civil service annuitants and the financial status of the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund.
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The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and Its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape

The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and Its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape

Date: January 12, 2012
Creator: Figliola, Patricia Moloney
Description: 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.
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Energy Policy: Comprehensive Energy Legislation (H.R. 6, S. 10) in the 109th Congress

Energy Policy: Comprehensive Energy Legislation (H.R. 6, S. 10) in the 109th Congress

Date: July 22, 2005
Creator: Bamberger, Robert L. & Behrens, Carl E.
Description: Conferees on H.R. 6, the Energy Policy Act of 2005, began meeting July 14, 2005, and are predicting that the conference will be completed July 25. The Senate passed its version of the bill June 28, and the House passed its version April 21. The Senate and House bills are similar, but major differences exist, including the following areas: ethanol and methyl tertiary-butyl ether, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, electricity restructuring, renewable energy, climate change, tax provisions, outer continental shelf, and the siting of LNG terminals
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Energy Policy: Comprehensive Energy Legislation (H.R. 6, S. 10) in the 109th Congress

Energy Policy: Comprehensive Energy Legislation (H.R. 6, S. 10) in the 109th Congress

Date: June 24, 2005
Creator: Bamberger, Robert L. & Behrens, Carl E.
Description: Conferees on H.R. 6, the Energy Policy Act of 2005, began meeting July 14, 2005, and are predicting that the conference will be completed July 25. The Senate passed its version of the bill June 28, and the House passed its version April 21. The Senate and House bills are similar, but major differences exist, including the following areas: ethanol and methyl tertiary-butyl ether, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, electricity restructuring, renewable energy, climate change, tax provisions, outer continental shelf, and the siting of LNG terminals
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Fairness Doctorine: History and Constitutional Issues

Fairness Doctorine: History and Constitutional Issues

Date: January 12, 2009
Creator: Ruane, Kathleen Ann
Description: The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) that required broadcast licensees to cover issues of public importance and to do so in a fair manner. In 1987, after a period of study, the FCC repealed the Fairness Doctrine. The debate in Congress regarding whether to reinstate the doctrine continues today. This report covers the history of such debates.
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Hydraulic Fracturing and Safe Drinking Water Act Issues

Hydraulic Fracturing and Safe Drinking Water Act Issues

Date: April 10, 2012
Creator: Tiemann, Mary & Vann, Adam
Description: This report reviews past and proposed treatment of hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Water Drinking Ace, the principal federal statute for regulating the underground injection of fluids to protect groundwater sources of drinking water. It reviews current provisions for regulating underground injection activities, and discusses some possible implications of, and issues associated with, enactment of legislation authorizing the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate hydraulic fracturing under this statute.
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Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendments

Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendments

Date: January 20, 2011
Creator: Luckey, John R.
Description: This report is divided into two parts. The first gives a brief history of the flag protection issue, from the enactment of the Flag Protection Act in 1968 through current consideration of a constitutional amendment. The second part briefly summarizes the two decisions of the United States Supreme Court, Texas v. Johnson and United States v. Eichman, that struck down the state and federal flag protection statutes as applied in the context punishing expressive conduct.
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Governmental Tracking of Cell Phones and Vehicles: The Confluence of Privacy, Technology, and Law

Governmental Tracking of Cell Phones and Vehicles: The Confluence of Privacy, Technology, and Law

Date: December 1, 2011
Creator: Thompson, Richard M.
Description: This report will briefly survey Fourth Amendment law as it pertains to the government's tracking programs. It will then summarize federal electronic surveillance statutes and the case law surrounding cell phone location tracking. Next, the report will describe the GPS-vehicle tracking cases and review the pending Supreme Court GPS tracking case, United States v. Jones. Finally, the report will summarize the geolocation and electronic surveillance legislation introduced in the 112th Congress.
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Immigration-Related Detention: Current Legislative Issues

Immigration-Related Detention: Current Legislative Issues

Date: January 12, 2012
Creator: Siskin, Alison
Description: As Congress considers addressing some of the problems in the nation's immigration system, the detention of noncitizens in the United States may be an issue as Congress may choose to reevaluate detention priorities (i.e., who should be detained) and resources. There are many policy issues surrounding detention of aliens. The Illegal Immigrant Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) increased the number of aliens subject to mandatory detention, and raised concerns about the justness of mandatory detention, especially as it is applied to asylum seekers arriving without proper documentation. Additionally, as DHS increases its ability to identify aliens who are subject to removal from local jails in more remote locations, the nationwide allocation of detention space may become an issue.
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Lobbying the Executive Branch: Current Practices and Options for Change

Lobbying the Executive Branch: Current Practices and Options for Change

Date: December 1, 2009
Creator: Straus, Jacob R.
Description: This report outlines the development of registration requirements for lobbyists engaging executive branch officials since 1995. It also summarizes steps taken by the Obama Administration to limit and monitor lobbying of the executive branch; discusses the development and implementation of restrictions placed on lobbying for Recovery Act and Emergency Economic Stabilization Act funds; examines the Obama Administration's decision to stop appointing lobbyists to federal advisory bodies and committees; considers third-party criticism of current executive branch lobbying policies; and provides options for possible modifications in current lobbying laws and practices.
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National Infrastructure Bank: Overview and Current Legislation

National Infrastructure Bank: Overview and Current Legislation

Date: December 14, 2011
Creator: Mallett, William J.; Maguire, Steven & Kosar, Kevin R.
Description: Several bills to establish a national infrastructure bank have been introduced in the 112th Congress. This report examines three such bills, the Building and Upgrading Infrastructure for Long-Term Development Act (S. 652), the American Infrastructure Investment Fund Act of 2011 (S. 936), and the National Infrastructure Development Bank Act of 2011 (H.R. 402).
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Cybercrime: An Overview of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Statute and Related Federal Criminal Laws

Cybercrime: An Overview of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Statute and Related Federal Criminal Laws

Date: December 27, 2010
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: The federal computer fraud and abuse statute, 18 U.S.C. 1030, outlaws conduct that victimizes computer systems. It is a cyber security law. It protects federal computers, bank computers, and computers connected to the Internet. It shields them from trespassing, threats, damage, espionage, and from being corruptly used as instruments of fraud. It is not a comprehensive provision, but instead it fills cracks and gaps in the protection afforded by other federal criminal laws. This is a brief sketch of Section 1030 and some of its federal statutory companions, including the amendments found in the Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act.
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