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

Access to Government Information in the United States

Date: January 23, 2003
Creator: Relyea, Harold C.
Description: 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 (5 U.S.C. 552) and the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a)—and two meetings access statutes—the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) and the Government in the Sunshine Act (5 U.S.C. 552b). Moreover, due to the American separation of powers model of government, interbranch conflicts over the accessibility of information are neither unexpected nor necessarily destructive. The federal courts, historically, have been reluctant to review and resolve “political questions” involving information disputes between Congress and the executive branch. Although there is considerable interbranch cooperation, such conflicts probably will continue to occur on occasion.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Access to Government Information in the United States

Access to Government Information in the United States

Date: January 7, 2005
Creator: Relyea, Harold C.
Description: 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 (5 U.S.C. 552) and the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a) — and two meetings access statutes — the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) and the Government in the Sunshine Act (5 U.S.C. 552b). Moreover, due to the American separation of powers model of government, interbranch conflicts over the accessibility of information are neither unexpected nor necessarily destructive. The federal courts, historically, have been reluctant to review and resolve “political questions” involving information disputes between Congress and the executive branch. Although there is considerable interbranch cooperation, such conflicts probably will continue to occur on occasion.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Access to Government Information In the United States

Access to Government Information In the United States

Date: April 23, 2007
Creator: Relyea, Harold C. & Kolakowski, Michael W.
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Access to Government Information In the United States

Access to Government Information In the United States

Date: March 13, 2008
Creator: Relyea, Harold C. & Ginsberg, Wendy
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Access to Government Information In the United States

Access to Government Information In the United States

Date: January 23, 2003
Creator: Relyea, Harold C.
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Access to Government Information In the United States

Access to Government Information In the United States

Date: December 5, 2007
Creator: Relyea, Harold C. & Kolakowski, Michael W.
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law

Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law

Date: August 30, 2007
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law

Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law

Date: August 25, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: 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, describing the essence of the statute.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law

Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law

Date: November 17, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law

Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law

Date: January 22, 1999
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: The Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act has two basic aims: to regulate international ocean disposal of materials, into authorized 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 represents a summary of the law, describing the essence of the statute.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law

Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law

Date: April 10, 2007
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Extraterritorial Application of American Criminal Law: An Abbreviated Sketch

Extraterritorial Application of American Criminal Law: An Abbreviated Sketch

Date: February 15, 2012
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: This report discusses the application of American criminal law outside the United States.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Clean Water Act and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) of Pollutants

Clean Water Act and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) of Pollutants

Date: October 25, 2006
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: 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 of this provision has been dormant until recently, when states and EPA were prodded by numerous lawsuits. The TMDL issue has become controversial, in part because of requirements and costs now facing states to implement a 25-year-old provision of the law. Congressional activity to reauthorize the Act, a possibility in the 2nd Session of the 105th Congress, could include TMDL issues, but the direction for any such action is unclear at this time.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues

Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues

Date: September 18, 2008
Creator: Wasem, Ruth Ellen & Ester, Karma
Description: When civil unrest, violence, or natural disasters erupt in spots around the world, concerns arise over the safety of nationals from these troubled places who are in the United States. This report discusses provisions that exist in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to offer temporary protected status (TPS) or relief from removal under specified circumstances. The United States currently provides TPS to nationals from seven countries: Burundi, El Salvador, Honduras, Liberia, Nicaragua, Somalia, and Sudan. Under the INA, the executive branch grants TPS. Congress, however, has also granted TPS legislatively, and legislation pertaining to TPS has received action in the 110th Congress.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Exporting Software and the Extraterritorial Reach of U.S. Patent Law: Microsoft Corp. v. AT&T Corp.

Exporting Software and the Extraterritorial Reach of U.S. Patent Law: Microsoft Corp. v. AT&T Corp.

Date: May 31, 2007
Creator: Yeh, Brian T.
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Broadband Internet Regulation and Access: Background and Issues

Broadband Internet Regulation and Access: Background and Issues

Date: May 29, 2007
Creator: Gilroy, Angele A. & Kruger, Lennard G.
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Controversies over Redefining “Fill Material” Under the Clean Water Act

Controversies over Redefining “Fill Material” Under the Clean Water Act

Date: August 21, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: On May 3, 2002, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) announced a final rule redefining two key terms, “fill material” and “discharge of fill material,” in regulations that implement Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. This report discusses the revised rule, focusing on how it changes which material and types of activities are regulated under Section 404 and the significance of these issues, especially for the mining industry.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Clean Air Act Issues in the 110th Congress: Implementation and Oversight

Clean Air Act Issues in the 110th Congress: Implementation and Oversight

Date: January 3, 2007
Creator: McCarthy, James E.
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
EPA Policies Concerning Integrated Planning and Affordability of Water Infrastructure

EPA Policies Concerning Integrated Planning and Affordability of Water Infrastructure

Date: April 1, 2016
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report examines recent initiatives by EPA, an integrated planning policy, and a framework policy for assessing a community's financial capability to meet objectives and requirements of the Clean Water Act (CWA).
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA's Air Compliance Agreement

Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA's Air Compliance Agreement

Date: August 26, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, intended to produce air quality monitoring data on animal agriculture emissions from a small number of farms, while at the same time protecting all participants (including farms where no monitoring takes place) through a "safe harbor" from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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
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
Water Quality Issues in the 110th Congress: Oversight and Implementation

Water Quality Issues in the 110th Congress: Oversight and Implementation

Date: March 15, 2007
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Exemptions from Environmental Law for the Department of Defense: An Overview of Congressional Action

Exemptions from Environmental Law for the Department of Defense: An Overview of Congressional Action

Date: January 9, 2006
Creator: Bearden, David M.
Description: This report discusses the difficulty of assessing the impact of environmental requirements on military readiness, broader exemptions for military activities that Congress has enacted, and DOD's request for additional exemptions.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department