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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
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Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 110th Congress
This report discusses immigration-related issues that have seen legislative action or are of significant congressional interest. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795454/
Brief Summaries of Federal Animal Protection Statutes
This report contains summaries of federal animal protection statutes, listed alphabetically. It does not include treaties, although it does include statutes enacted to implement treaties. It includes statutes concerning animals that are not entirely, or not at all, animal protection statutes. For example, it includes a statute authorizing the eradication of predators, because one of the statute's purposes is to protect domestic and "game" animals; and it includes statutes to conserve fish, although their ultimate purpose may not be for the fishes' benefit. It also includes statutes that allow the disabled to use service animals, and even includes statutes aimed at acts of animal rights advocates (the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992, and the Recreational Hunting Safety and Preservation Act of 1994). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26053/
Food Safety on the Farm: Federal Programs and Selected Proposals
This report discusses bills introduced into the 110th Congress pertaining to food safety that could affect farmers and ranchers. Several of these bills would expressly have required enforceable on-farm safety standards. Others that focused primarily on post-harvest food safety measures nonetheless might have led to changes in on-farm practices if the regulated sectors (handlers and processors of agricultural products) placed new demands on their suppliers in order to comply. Similar proposals are re-emerging in the 111th Congress, where food safety reform is expected to be on the agenda. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc819825/
A Low Carbon Fuel Standard: State and Federal Legislation and Regulations
This report analyzes the draft California standards, and discusses how those standards might work. Next, the report analyzes federal Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) legislation proposed in the 110th Congress. Finally, the report analyzes what effects an LCFS might have on state and national fuel supplies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795564/
A U.S.-centric Chronology of the International Climate Change Negotiations
This document provides a U.S.-centric chronology of the international policy negotiations to address climate change. It covers the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992, the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, the Marrakesh Accords of 2001, and the Bali Action Plan of 2007 that mandates the current negotiations toward a new agreement by the end of 2009 on commitments for the period beyond 2012. Today's negotiations under the Bali Action Plan focus on four elements: mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions; adaptation to impacts of climate change; financial assistance to low income countries; and technology development and transfer. For U.S. legislators, important issues include the compatibility of any international agreement with U.S. domestic policies and laws; the adequacy of appropriations, fiscal measures and programs to achieve any commitments under the agreement; and the desirable form of the agreement and related requirements for potential Senate ratification and federal implementing legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83886/
Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Perspective on the Top 20 Emitters and Developed Versus Developing Nations
This report uses the data compiled by World Resources Institute (WRI) to examine a pivotal and long-running issue surrounding U.S. climate change policy: the appropriate roles of developed and developing countries in addressing climate change. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821138/
Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendments
Many Members of Congress see continued tension between "free speech" decisions of the Supreme Court, which protect flag desecration as expressive conduct under the First Amendment, and the symbolic importance of the United States flag. 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29493/
Fairness Doctorine: History and Constitutional Issues
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83897/
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/metadc811774/
The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program
This report discusses the Special Inspector General provisions in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, H.R. 1424, which was enacted as P.L. 110-343 on October 3, 2008. This Act created a Special Inspector General (SIG) for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). This report will compare the duties and authorities of the SIG TARP to those of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) and the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), as well as statutory IGs under the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended (IG Act). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463346/
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/metadc821536/
Iran's Economic Conditions: U.S. Policy Issues
This report provides a general overview of Iran's economy, addresses related U.S. policy concerns, and discusses policy options for Congress. The purpose of this report is two-fold. First, it provides insight into important macroeconomic trends, policy reforms and objectives, key economic sectors, international trade patterns, and sources of foreign exchange. Second, in the context of U.S. economic sanctions imposed for national security and foreign policy reasons, it evaluates Iran's economic structure, strengths, and vulnerabilities and discusses issues and options for Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463378/
Products Liability: A Legal Overview
This report discusses products liability, which refers to the liability of a manufacturer or seller for injury caused by his product to the person or property of a buyer or third party. Legal developments starting in the 1960s, particularly the adoption of strict tort liability, have made it substantially easier for persons injured by defective products to recover damages. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743585/
Proposed Funding for Education in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
This report provides a brief overview of the key provisions related to education programs that are or would be administered by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) that were included in the act under Title IX (Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education) and Title XII (State Fiscal Stabilization Fund). It also provides estimates of state grants for programs for which these estimates are relevant and for which data needed to produce the estimates are available. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462251/
The War Crimes Act: Current Issues
This report discusses current issues related to the War Crimes Act of 1996 and Common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which sets out minimum standards for the treatment of detainees in armed conflicts "not of an international character (e.g., civil wars, rebellions, and other conflicts between State and non-State actors). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795770/
Compulsory DNA Collection: A Fourth Amendment Analysis
This report examines compulsory DNA collection by law enforcement and its implications in regards to 4th amendment protections by examining legal precedents and considering the contemporary scientific understanding of DNA. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463009/
Immigration-Related Document Fraud: Overview of Civil, Criminal, and Immigration Consequences
This report discusses the primary civil, criminal, and immigration-related penalties associated with immigration-related document fraud. In order to enter or remain in the United States and be eligible for various immigration-related benefits, non-citizens (aliens) must comply with a number of document requirements under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743370/
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings
This report discusses the mainstays of the U.S. capacity to issue warnings: the Emergency Alert System (EAS), which relies primarily on broadcasting media, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio All-Hazards Network. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc505423/
Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization: An Overview of Selected Provisions in Proposed Legislation Considered by the 110th Congress
The report is intended to provide a brief summary and analysis of major legislative provisions in bills related to reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration and related aviation programs that were considered during the 110th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc770583/
Military Recruitment Provisions Under the No Child Left Behind Act: A Legal Analysis
This report describes the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) military recruitment provisions and discusses the legal issues that they may raise if the 111th Congress considers reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The NCLBA amended the ESEA to say that high schools receiving federal funds must provide certain student contact information to military recruiters upon request and must allow recruiters to have the same access to students as employers and colleges. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743656/
Federal Statutes: What They Are and Where to Find Them
This report provides a brief overview of federal statutes and where to find them, both in print and on the Internet. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795379/
Offshore Oil and Gas Development: Legal Framework
This report explains the nature of U.S. authority over offshore areas pursuant to international and domestic law, and describes the laws -- at both the state and federal levels -- governing the development of offshore oil and gas and related litigation. Additionally, it provides an outline of the changes to the regulating authorities by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, subsequent legislation and executive action, and a discussion of recent executive action and legislative proposals that would allow for further offshore exploration and production. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743533/
U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea: Living Resources Provisions
This report describes provisions of the LOS Convention relating to living marine resources and discusses how these provisions comport with current U.S. marine policy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795561/
The Iran Sanctions Act (ISA)
This report discusses the increasing international pressure on Iran to curb its nuclear program and how that pressure discourages foreign firms from investing in Iran's energy sector, hindering Iran's efforts to expand oil production. It also discusses the history and progress of the formal U.S. effort to curb energy investment in Iran, which began with the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) in 1996 digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700725/
The Bayh-Dole Act: Selected Issues in Patent Policy and the Commercialization of Technology
This report discusses the rationale behind the passage of P.L. 96-517 (Amendments to the Patent and Trademark Act, or the "Bayh-Dole Act") as well as its provisions and information regarding the implementation of the law. Under this 1980 law, as amended, title to inventions made with government support is provided to the contractor if that contractor is a small business, a university, or other non-profit institution. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743427/
Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP): Status and Issues
This report presents an overview of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), a voluntary program that provides technical and financial assistance to eligible agricultural producers who wish to implement soil and water conservation practices. The purpose of EQIP is to promote agriculture production, forestry management, and environmental quality as compatible goals, and to optimize environmental benefits. The report also discusses select issues for Congress regarding tighter budget constraints that could potentially reduce funding levels for EQIP and a continuing backlog of unfunded applications. A change in income limitations along with a new waiver created in the 2008 farm bill could also raise issues for the program. EQIP will also continue to face challenges in measuring environmental and program accomplishments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463216/
Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP): Status and Issues
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program that provides technical and financial assistance to eligible agricultural producers who wish to implement soil and water conservation practices. The purpose of EQIP is to promote agriculture production, forestry management, and environmental quality as compatible goals, and to optimize environmental benefits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc86546/
Mountain Pine Beetles and Forest Destruction: Effects, Responses, and Relationship to Climate Change
This report examines the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) epidemic because it is one of the most damaging insects affecting forests and because more is known about its life cycle than the cycles of many other forest pests. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462467/
Mountain Pine Beetles and Forest Destruction: Effects, Responses, and Relationship to Climate Change
This report examines the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) epidemic because it is one of the most damaging insects affecting forests and because more is known about its life cycle than the cycles of many other forest pests. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87132/
Ocean Piracy and Its Impact on Insurance
This report examines the issue of piracy off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. The report looks into the impact of such piracy on the insurance industry and explains the available options for Congress to mitigate piracy's negative effects on the industry. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462801/
Pipeline Safety and Security: Federal Programs
This report discusses congressional interest in securing the nation's pipelines. Nearly half a million miles of oil and natural gas transmission pipeline crisscross the United States. While an efficient and fundamentally safe means of transport, many pipelines carry hazardous materials with the potential to cause public injury and environmental damage. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc503686/
Pipeline Safety and Security: Federal Programs
Congress passed the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-468) to improve pipeline safety and security practices. The Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS), within the Department of Transportation (DOT), is the lead federal regulator of pipeline safety. The OPS uses a variety of strategies to promote compliance with its safety regulations, including inspections, investigation of safety incidents, and maintaining a dialogue with pipeline operators. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87306/
Transportation and Transportation Security Related Provisions of House and Senate Stimulus Legislation (H.R. 1)
This report discusses the major transportation and transportation security-related provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1) as passed by the House on January 28, 2009, and the Senate on February 10, 2009. The report also discusses the major transportation provisions of the conference report on H.R. 1 (H.Rept. 111-16), which was passed by both the House and Senate on February 13, 2009, and signed by President Barack Obama on February 17, 2009. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743475/
Water Infrastructure Funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
This report identifies funding for water infrastructure programs and projects contained in the legislation, including amounts in the House- and Senate-passed versions that preceded the conference agreement. Among the purposes identified in the legislation are preservation and creation of jobs and promotion of U.S. economic recovery, and investment in transportation, environmental protection, and other infrastructure that will provide long-term economic benefits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743532/
Department of Defense Facilities Energy Conservation Policies and Spending
This report reviews energy conservation legislation and Executive Orders that apply to the Department of Defense, directives and instructions to the military departments and agencies on implementing the legislation and orders, Defense spending on facility energy over the last decade, annual Defense appropriations that fund energy-conservation improvements, and Defense energy conservation investments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462011/
Department of Defense Facilities Energy Conservation Policies and Spending
This report reviews energy conservation legislation and Executive Orders that apply to the Department of Defense, directives and instructions to the military departments and agencies on implementing the legislation and orders, Defense spending on facility energy over the last decade, annual Defense appropriations that fund energy-conservation improvements, and Defense energy conservation investments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc86537/
Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Issues in the 111th Congress
This report discusses many federal laws and regulations regarding fish and marine mammals that are important resources in open ocean and nearshore coastal areas. These laws and regulations guide their management as well as the management of their habitat. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743584/
Farm and Food Support Under USDA's Section 32 Program
The 110th Congress in June 2008 passed a new omnibus farm bill (P.L. 110-246). Provisions in this new law now spell out more explicitly how the Secretary is to use the annual Section 32 appropriation. Section 32 of the act of August 24, 1935 (P.L. 74-320 as amended; 7 U.S.C. 612c) authorizes a permanent appropriation equal to 30% of annual U.S. customs receipts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87328/
Agriculture, Nutrition, and Rural Provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009
This report analyzes the agriculture, nutrition, and rural provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, P.L. 111-5). The ARRA boosts government spending on various infrastructure programs and government benefits programs, and offers individual and business tax benefits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795420/
Who Regulates Whom? An Overview of U.S. Financial Supervision
This report provides an overview of current U.S. financial regulation: which agencies are responsible for which institutions and markets, and what kinds of authority they have. Federal financial regulation in the United States has evolved through a series of piecemeal responses to developments and crises in the markets. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743474/
Cuba: Issues for the 111th Congress
This report tracks developments in U.S. policy toward Cuba and legislative initiatives in the 111th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795435/
The Supreme Court Accepts Five Environmental Cases During Its 2008-2009 Term
In the Supreme Court's 2008-2009 term, which likely will conclude in late June, 2009, the Court has accepted for argument five environmental cases--an unusually large number out of the roughly 85 cases accepted for argument. The reason for this interest in environmental cases at this particular time is speculative; the Court generally does not explain why it accepts cases. This report reviews the cases, decided and undecided, and then briefly comments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462077/
The Supreme Court Accepts Five Environmental Cases During Its 2008-2009 Term
In the Supreme Court's 2008-2009 term, which likely will conclude in late June, 2009, the Court has accepted for argument five environmental cases—an unusually large number out of the roughly 85 cases accepted for argument. The reason for this interest in environmental cases at this particular time is speculative; the Court generally does not explain why it accepts cases. This report reviews the cases, decided and undecided, and then briefly comments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87140/
The Technology Innovation Program
This report discusses the Technology Innovation Program (TIP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which is designed "to support, promote, and accelerate innovation in the United States through high-risk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need," according to the authorizing legislation. Grants are provided to small and medium-sized firms for individual projects or joint ventures with other research organizations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc503627/
Energy Provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5)
This report discusses the energy appropriations in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, P.L. 111-5). It includes background information, a summary of provisions, and detailed explanations of the relevant appropriations and tax provisions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743508/
Supreme Court Appellate Jurisdiction Over Military Court Cases
This report surveys military courts' jurisdiction, the structure of appellate review for military cases, interactions between military and civilian courts, and legislative proposals. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700738/
The Iran Sanctions Act (ISA)
This report discusses the increasing international pressure on Iran to curb its nuclear program and how that pressure discourages foreign firms from investing in Iran's energy sector, hindering Iran's efforts to expand oil production. It also discusses the history and progress of the formal U.S. effort to curb energy investment in Iran, which began with the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) in 1996 digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700920/
Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc505573/
Enforcing Immigration Law: The Role of State and Local Law Enforcement
This report examines some of the policy and legal issues that may accompany an increased role of state and local law officials in the enforcement of immigration law. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700868/
Water Infrastructure Funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
This report identifies funding for water infrastructure programs and projects contained in the legislation, including amounts in the House- and Senate-passed versions that preceded the conference agreement. Among the purposes identified in the legislation are preservation and creation of jobs and promotion of U.S. economic recovery, and investment in transportation, environmental protection, and other infrastructure that will provide long-term economic benefits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87133/