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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Access to Government Information in the United States: A Primer

Access to Government Information in the United States: A Primer

Date: March 18, 2016
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy & Greene, Michael
Description: This report offers an introduction to the four access laws and provides citations to additional resources related to these statutes. It includes statistics on the use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and on litigation related to FOIA. In addition, this report provides some examples of the methods Congress, the President, and the courts have employed to provide or require the provision of information to one another, as well as a list of resources related to transparency, secrecy, access, and nondisclosure.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Justice Antonin Scalia: His Jurisprudence and His Impact on the Court

Justice Antonin Scalia: His Jurisprudence and His Impact on the Court

Date: March 18, 2016
Creator: Manuel, Kate M.; Murrill, Brandon J. & Nolan, Andrew
Description: This report discusses Justice Scalia's jurisprudence on key areas of law, as well as how that jurisprudence could be seen to have influenced the Court's approach to these subject matters.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The House May Vote to File an Amicus Brief: Is this Unprecedented?

The House May Vote to File an Amicus Brief: Is this Unprecedented?

Date: March 16, 2016
Creator: unknown
Description: This report discusses the historical precedence of the House authorizing the filing of an amicus brief. The case involves state challenges to the Obama Administration's expansion of its deferred action program for certain aliens brought to the U.S. as children and unauthorized aliens who are the parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent resident aliens.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Nominations to the Supreme Court During Years of Divided and Unified Party Government

Nominations to the Supreme Court During Years of Divided and Unified Party Government

Date: March 16, 2016
Creator: McMillion, Barry J.
Description: This report provides data and analysis related to nominations made to the Supreme Court during years of unified and divided party government.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress

Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress

Date: March 15, 2016
Creator: Sullivan, Mark P.
Description: This report is divided into three major sections analyzing Cuba's political and economic environment, U.S. policy, and selected issues in U.S.-Cuban relations. While legislative initiatives are noted throughout the report, a final section of the report provides a listing of bills and resolutions introduced in the 114th Congress.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Justice Antonin Scalia's Last Opinion

Justice Antonin Scalia's Last Opinion

Date: March 15, 2016
Creator: unknown
Description: This report discusses Justice Antonin Scalia's last opinion for the court (Kansas v. Carr). There, the Court reversed two decisions of the Kansas Supreme Court and held that "the Eighth Amendment [does not] require... capital-sentencing courts to instruct the jury that mitigating circumstances need not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt." It also held that the Eighth Amendment did not require separate trials for two of the defendants in one of the Kansas cases.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
EPA's Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants: Frequently Asked Questions

EPA's Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants: Frequently Asked Questions

Date: March 9, 2016
Creator: McCarthy, James E.; Ramseur, Jonathan L.; Leggett, Jane A.; Wyatt, Alexandra M. & Dolan, Alissa M.
Description: This report summarizes the Clean Power Plan rule as it was finalized on August 3, 2015, before discussing how the ongoing litigation may potentially impact the rule and its deadlines. EPA faced a number of issues and questions while developing the regulations. This report describes how EPA answered these and other questions.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Iran Nuclear Agreement

Iran Nuclear Agreement

Date: March 7, 2016
Creator: Kenneth, Katzman & Kerr, Paul K.
Description: This report provides background on the agreement negotiated by Iran and six other countries (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany--collectively known as the P5+1) regarding Iran's nuclear program, and discusses the implications for U.S.-Iran relations.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Programs

Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Programs

Date: February 26, 2016
Creator: Bruno, Andorra
Description: This report analyzes the special immigrant visas (SIVs) classifications for Iraqis and Afghans within the context of both the larger INA special immigrant category and selected other permanent admissions categories. It discusses the legislative changes to the individual Iraqi and Afghan special immigrant programs since their initial authorization, provides statistics on visa issuances, and considers challenges that have faced the programs.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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: February 22, 2016
Creator: Moloney Figliola, Patricia
Description: This report discusses current issues regarding the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is an independent federal agency charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. The mission of the FCC is to ensure that the American people have available--at reasonable cost and without discrimination--rapid, efficient, nation- and world-wide communication services, whether by radio, television, wire, satellite, or cable.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Legislative Options for Financing Water Infrastructure

Legislative Options for Financing Water Infrastructure

Date: February 18, 2016
Creator: Copeland, Claudia; Maguire, Steven & Mallett, William J.
Description: This report addresses several options considered by Congress to address the financing needs of local communities for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects and to decrease or close the gap between available funds and projected needs. Possible options include expanding or modifying current programs, establishing long-term revenue to support programs, or encouraging private participation in financing projects.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Role of Local and Regional Food Systems in U.S. Farm Policy

The Role of Local and Regional Food Systems in U.S. Farm Policy

Date: February 18, 2016
Creator: Johnson, Renée
Description: This report provides background information on many of the type of operations engaged in the U.S. local and regional food system. A wide range of farm businesses are involved in local foods, such as direct-to-consumer marketing, farmers' markets, farm-to-school programs, community-supported agriculture,6 community gardens, school gardens, food hubs and market aggregators, kitchen incubators, and mobile slaughter units. This report also highlights some of the available resources within existing federal programs administered by USDA and other agencies.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
IAEA Budget and U.S. Contributions: In Brief

IAEA Budget and U.S. Contributions: In Brief

Date: February 17, 2016
Creator: Epstein, Susan B. & Kerr, Paul K.
Description: This report discusses the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA's) budget and funding. In addition to its other missions, the IAEA is monitoring and verifying Iranian compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and is to report on these activities regularly. The accord is intended to lift nuclear related U.S., European Union, and United Nations sanctions on Iran in exchange for restrictions on the country's nuclear program.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
U.S. Family-Based Immigration Policy

U.S. Family-Based Immigration Policy

Date: February 17, 2016
Creator: Kandel, William A.
Description: This report provides an examination of family-based immigration policy. It outlines a brief history of U.S. policies, discusses current law governing admissions, and summarizes recommendations made by previous congressionally-mandated committees charged with evaluating immigration policy. It then presents descriptive figures on legal immigrants entering the United States during the past decade and discusses the sizable queue of approved immigrant petitioners waiting for an immigrant visa. It closes by discussing selected policy issues.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
FY2016 Changes to DOD's 1033 Program

FY2016 Changes to DOD's 1033 Program

Date: February 16, 2016
Creator: Else, Daniel H.
Description: This report briefly discusses the current status of the Department of Defense's (DOD's) 1033 Program, under which excess DOD property -- such as personal computers, vehicles, and firearms -- are made available to qualified federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
What Does Justice Scalia's Death Mean for Congress and the Nation?

What Does Justice Scalia's Death Mean for Congress and the Nation?

Date: February 16, 2016
Creator: unknown
Description: This legal sidebar briefly provides an overview of the major implications of Justice Scalia's death for Congress. Justice Scalia's absence may alter the outcome of several cases of interest to Congress pending before the Court and could mark a seismic shift in many legal doctrines, depending on who is confirmed to fill the newly vacant seat on the Court. The job of confirming the President's nomination to fill the vacancy resides with the Senate, making Justice Scalia's death likely to have a profound impact in both the short and long term on Congress.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Appointment of African American U.S. Circuit and District Court Judges: Historical Overview and Current Data

Appointment of African American U.S. Circuit and District Court Judges: Historical Overview and Current Data

Date: February 12, 2016
Creator: McMillion, Barry J.
Description: This report briefly provides historical and statistical information related to the appointment of African Americans as U.S. circuit and district court judges. Such information addresses ongoing congressional interest in the demographic characteristics of lower federal court judges.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): Waiver Authority and Modification of Volumes

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): Waiver Authority and Modification of Volumes

Date: February 10, 2016
Creator: Bracmort, Kelsi
Description: This report discusses the process and criteria for the Environmental Protection Agency to waive various portions of the renewable fuel standard (RFS), and the modification of applicable volumes.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Water Infrastructure Financing: The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program

Water Infrastructure Financing: The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program

Date: February 9, 2016
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report examines "Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act" (WIFIA), which details a program that would provide a way to help finance water infrastructure projects. This program was included in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA, P.L. 113-121). A five-year WIFIA pilot program was outlined in Title V, Subtitle C, of the legislation.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Good Cause Exception to Notice and Comment Rulemaking: Judicial Review of Agency Action

The Good Cause Exception to Notice and Comment Rulemaking: Judicial Review of Agency Action

Date: January 29, 2016
Creator: Cole, Jared P.
Description: This report will examine judicial analysis of the good cause standard and map several factors that lead courts to uphold or reject agencies' invocation of the exception. Federal agencies issue numerous rules pursuant to congressionally delegated authority. The Administrative Procedure Act's (APA's) "good cause" exception, however, permits agencies to forgo Section 553's notice and comment requirement if "the agency for good cause finds" that compliance would be "impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest" and to bypass its requirement that rules be published 30 days before implementation if good cause exists.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Body Armor for Law Enforcement Officers: In Brief

Body Armor for Law Enforcement Officers: In Brief

Date: January 28, 2016
Creator: James, Nathan
Description: This report contains an overview of the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Initiative (BPV program). It also provides a discussion of data on law enforcement agencies that require their officers to wear armor vests while on duty, research on why officers may choose to wear armor vests, research on the life cycle for armor vests, data on the use of body armor by law enforcement officers who were killed with a firearm, and research on the effectiveness of armor vests.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Unaccompanied Alien Children--Legal Issues: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Unaccompanied Alien Children--Legal Issues: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Date: January 27, 2016
Creator: Manuel, Kate M. & Garcia, Michael J.
Description: This report addresses the questions regarding the number of children arriving at the United States southern border, their reasons for coming to the United States, and current and potential responses of the federal government and other entities to their arrival.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Iran: U.S. Economic Sanctions and the Authority to Lift Restrictions

Iran: U.S. Economic Sanctions and the Authority to Lift Restrictions

Date: January 22, 2016
Creator: Rennack, Dianne E.
Description: This report identifies the legislative bases for sanctions imposed on Iran, and the nature of the authority to waive or lift those restrictions. It comprises two tables that present legislation and executive orders that are specific to Iran and its objectionable activities in the areas of terrorism, human rights, and weapons proliferation.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Iran Sanctions

Iran Sanctions

Date: January 21, 2016
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Description: This report analyzes U.S. and international sanctions against Iran and provides some examples, based on open sources, of companies and countries that conduct business with Iran.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department