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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
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The Constitutionality of Campaign Finance Regulation: Buckley v. Valeo and Its Supreme Court Progeny

The Constitutionality of Campaign Finance Regulation: Buckley v. Valeo and Its Supreme Court Progeny

Date: November 18, 2008
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: This report first discusses the key holdings enunciated by the Supreme Court in Buckley, including those upholding reasonable contribution limits, striking down expenditure limits, upholding disclosure reporting requirements, and upholding the system of voluntary presidential election expenditure limitations linked with public financing. It then examines the Court's extension of Buckley in several subsequent cases, evaluating them in various regulatory contexts: contribution limits, expenditure limits, disclosure requirements, and political party soft money and electioneering communication restrictions.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Water Rights Related to Oil Shale Development in the Upper Colorado River Basin

Water Rights Related to Oil Shale Development in the Upper Colorado River Basin

Date: November 18, 2008
Creator: Brougher, Cynthia
Description: Concerns over fluctuating oil prices and declining petroleum production worldwide have revived interest in oil shale as a potential resource. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58) identified oil shale as a strategically important domestic resource and directed the Department of the Interior to promote commercial development. Oil shale development would require significant amounts of water, however, and water supply in the Colorado River Basin, where several oil shale reserves are located, is limited. This report will provide a brief overview of water rights in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, including changes that may be made to currently held water rights and the possibility for abandonment of unused water rights.
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Emergency Communications: The Future of 911

Emergency Communications: The Future of 911

Date: November 21, 2008
Creator: Moore, Linda K.
Description: Today's 911 system is built on an infrastructure of analog technology that does not support many of the features that most Americans expect are part of an emergency response. Recognizing the importance of providing effective 911 service, Congress has passed three major bills supporting improvements in the handling of 911 emergency calls. This report includes a detailed overview of the 911 system, as well as related legislation and policies currently in consideration by Congress.
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Climate Change and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS): Kyoto and Beyond

Climate Change and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS): Kyoto and Beyond

Date: November 24, 2008
Creator: Parker, Larry
Description: This report discusses the development in global warming as a global issue. Topics include issues that have arisen regarding the ETS and considerations for cap-and-trade.
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The World Bank's Clean Technology Fund (CTF)

The World Bank's Clean Technology Fund (CTF)

Date: November 24, 2008
Creator: Weiss, Martin A. & Logan, Jeffrey
Description: The United States Treasury has led efforts to create a $10 billion Clean Technology Fund (CTF), located at the World Bank, to help fund deployment of clean technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing economies. The Bush administration has asked Congress to authorize and appropriate U.S. funding of $2 billion over three years (FY2009 to FY2011). While many Members of Congress have expressed support for the CTF, others have raised concerns, primarily with respect to whether the CTF should finance carbon-based energy projects. To date, Congress has not passed legislation authorizing or appropriating U.S. contributions to the Fund.
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Compulsory DNA Collection: A Fourth Amendment Analysis

Compulsory DNA Collection: A Fourth Amendment Analysis

Date: November 26, 2008
Creator: Henning, Anna C.
Description: 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.
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Medicaid Regulatory Issues

Medicaid Regulatory Issues

Date: November 26, 2008
Creator: Herz, Elicia J. & Burrows, Vanessa K.
Description: This report provides a summary of seven proposed and final rules affecting the Medicaid program that were issued by the Bush Administration during 2007 and 2008. Six of the seven rules are currently under a congressional moratorium on further administrative action until April 1, 2009. A description of possible administrative and legislative actions to modify these rules, which could be taken by the next administration or the 111th Congress, is also provided.
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The President-Elect: Succession and Disability Issues During the Transition Period

The President-Elect: Succession and Disability Issues During the Transition Period

Date: November 26, 2008
Creator: Neale, Thomas H.
Description: Procedures governing replacement of a President or Vice President-elect during the transition period depend on when the events that might lead to a temporary or permanent replacement occur. This report describes the general election process by which American voters directly choose members of the electoral college and indirectly choose the President and Vice President. This report also describes the so-called "lame duck" period between the election and the incoming President's inauguration, specifically regarding questions of disability or resignation by a President or Vice President-elect during this time.
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FDA’s Authority to Ensure That Drugs Prescribed to Children Are Safe and Effective

FDA’s Authority to Ensure That Drugs Prescribed to Children Are Safe and Effective

Date: December 2, 2008
Creator: Thaul, Susan
Description: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved for adult use many drugs never tested in children. Yet clinicians often prescribe them for children believing that the safety and effectiveness demonstrated with adults probably reasonably transfers to younger patients. The data show that this is not always true. To encourage industry to develop drugs and medical devices for pediatric use, Congress has established three programs. The Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 (FDAAA, P.L. 110-85) reauthorized and strengthened two laws addressing drugs—the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act (BPCA) of 2002 and the Pediatric Research Equity Act (PREA) of 2003—and enacted a new law addressing devices—the Pediatric Medical Device Safety and Improvement Act (PMDSIA) of 2007. The historical approach of this report allows an understanding of how and why Congress took these steps.
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Ocean Piracy and Its Impact on Insurance

Ocean Piracy and Its Impact on Insurance

Date: December 3, 2008
Creator: King, Rawle O.
Description: 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.
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Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 110th Congress

Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 110th Congress

Date: December 10, 2008
Creator: Bruno, Andorra
Description: This report discusses immigration-related issues that have seen legislative action or are of significant congressional interest.
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Brief Summaries of Federal Animal Protection Statutes

Brief Summaries of Federal Animal Protection Statutes

Date: December 18, 2008
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Description: 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).
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Food Safety on the Farm: Federal Programs and Selected Proposals

Food Safety on the Farm: Federal Programs and Selected Proposals

Date: December 19, 2008
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Description: 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.
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A Low Carbon Fuel Standard: State and Federal Legislation and Regulations

A Low Carbon Fuel Standard: State and Federal Legislation and Regulations

Date: December 23, 2008
Creator: Yacobucci, Brent D.
Description: 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.
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A U.S.-centric Chronology of the International Climate Change Negotiations

A U.S.-centric Chronology of the International Climate Change Negotiations

Date: December 23, 2008
Creator: Leggett, Jane A.
Description: 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.
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Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Perspective on the Top 20 Emitters and Developed Versus Developing Nations

Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Perspective on the Top 20 Emitters and Developed Versus Developing Nations

Date: December 24, 2008
Creator: Parker, Larry & Blodgett, John
Description: 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.
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Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendments

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

Date: January 7, 2009
Creator: Luckey, John R.
Description: 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.
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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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Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Legislation in the 110th Congress

Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Legislation in the 110th Congress

Date: January 12, 2009
Creator: Buck, Eugene H.
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program

The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program

Date: January 14, 2009
Creator: Burrows, Vanessa K.
Description: 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).
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Country-of-Origin Labeling for Foods

Country-of-Origin Labeling for Foods

Date: January 15, 2009
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Description: 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.
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Iran's Economic Conditions: U.S. Policy Issues

Iran's Economic Conditions: U.S. Policy Issues

Date: January 15, 2009
Creator: Ilias, Shayerah
Description: 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.
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Products Liability: A Legal Overview

Products Liability: A Legal Overview

Date: January 16, 2009
Creator: Chu, Vivian S.
Description: 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.
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Proposed Funding for Education in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Proposed Funding for Education in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Date: January 22, 2009
Creator: Skinner, Rebecca R.; Smole, David P.; Lordeman, Ann & Riddle, Wayne C.
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department