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 Decade: 2000-2009
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Access to Government Information in the United States

Access to Government Information in the United States

Date: August 31, 2009
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy R.
Description: The U.S. Constitution makes no specific allowance for any one of the three branches of the federal government to have access to information held by the others. No provision in the U.S. Constitution expressly establishes a procedure for public access to government information. Congress has legislated various public access laws. Among these laws are two records access statutes, The Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, and two meetings access statutes, the Federal Advisory Committee Act, and the Government in the Sunshine Act. This report offers an overview of the four information access laws noted above, and provides citations to additional resources related to these tools.
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: August 31, 2009
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy R.
Description: The U.S. Constitution makes no specific allowance for any one of the three branches of the federal government to have access to information held by the others. No provision in the U.S. Constitution expressly establishes a procedure for public access to government information. Congress has legislated various public access laws. Among these laws are two records access statutes, The Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, and two meetings access statutes, the Federal Advisory Committee Act, and the Government in the Sunshine Act. This report offers an overview of the four information access laws noted above, and provides citations to additional resources related to these tools.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Oil Spills in U.S. Coastal Waters: Background, Governance, and Issues for Congress

Oil Spills in U.S. Coastal Waters: Background, Governance, and Issues for Congress

Date: August 27, 2009
Creator: Ramseur, Jonathan L.
Description: This report reviews the history and trends of oil spills in the United States; identifies the legal authorities governing oil spill prevention, response, and cleanup; and examines the threats of future oil spills in U.S. coastal waters.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Energy and Water Development: FY2010 Appropriations

Energy and Water Development: FY2010 Appropriations

Date: August 26, 2009
Creator: Behrens, Carl E.
Description: This report discusses the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill that provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), for the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), the Department of Energy (DOE), and several independent agencies.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Insurance Regulation: Issues, Background, and Legislation in the 111th Congress

Insurance Regulation: Issues, Background, and Legislation in the 111th Congress

Date: August 19, 2009
Creator: Webel, Baird
Description: This report discusses congressional and action on insurance regulation in the wake of the recent financial crisis. Although the financial crisis has changed the focus of the debate surrounding insurance regulatory reform, many of the pre-crisis pressures for regulatory changes continue.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Water Infrastructure Funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Water Infrastructure Funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Date: August 19, 2009
Creator: Copeland, Claudia; Carter, Nicole T. & Stubbs, Megan
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Iran Sanctions

Iran Sanctions

Date: August 18, 2009
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Description: This report focuses on the United States' relationship with Iran and how the Obama Administration is handling prior administrations' economic sanctions against Iran. The Obama Administration's policy approach toward Iran has contrasted with the Bush Administration's by attempting to couple the imposition of sanctions to an active and direct U.S. effort to negotiate with Iran on the nuclear issue.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings

Date: August 14, 2009
Creator: Moore, Linda K.
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances

Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances

Date: August 10, 2009
Creator: Sullivan, Mark P.
Description: The first half of this report looks at the background of U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba over the last 40 years. The second half of this report looks at several initiatives from the 111th Congress that would ease U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Perchlorate Contamination of Drinking Water: Regulatory Issues and Legislative Actions

Perchlorate Contamination of Drinking Water: Regulatory Issues and Legislative Actions

Date: August 6, 2009
Creator: Tiemann, Mary
Description: This report reviews perchlorate contamination issues and related developments. Perchlorate is the explosive component of solid rocket fuel, fireworks, road flares, and other products. Used heavily by the Department of Defense (DOD) and related industries, perchlorate also occurs naturally and is present in some organic fertilizer. This soluble, persistent compound has been detected in drinking water supplies, especially in California. It also has been found in milk and many foods.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Qui Tam: An Abbreviated Look at the False Claims Act and Related Federal Statutes

Qui Tam: An Abbreviated Look at the False Claims Act and Related Federal Statutes

Date: August 6, 2009
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: This is a brief discussion of the constitutional questions raised by qui tam provisions; of the history of such provisions; and of the three existing, active federal qui tam statutes--the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. 3729-3733; the false marking patent statute, 35 U.S.C. 292; and the Indian protection provisions of 25 U.S.C. 201.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Passports: Current Regulations

Passports: Current Regulations

Date: August 4, 2009
Creator: Epstein, Susan B.
Description: This report discusses current U.S. passport requirements and costs, as well as related policy concerns.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Burma: Economic Sanctions

Burma: Economic Sanctions

Date: August 3, 2009
Creator: Niksch, Larry A. & Weiss, Martin A.
Description: This report provides background information on existing economic sanctions against Burma and possible options to expand sanctions.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009

The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009

Date: July 31, 2009
Creator: Smole, David P.; Mahan, Shannon M.; McCallion, Gail; Skinner, Rebecca R.; Bradley, David H. & Dortch, Cassandria
Description: This report reviews and briefly describes the proposals contained in H.R. 3221 to amend programs authorized under HEA and to establish and fund additional new education programs. It will be updated as warranted to track legislative developments.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Border Searches of Laptop Computers and Other Electronic Storage Devices

Border Searches of Laptop Computers and Other Electronic Storage Devices

Date: July 28, 2009
Creator: Kim, Yule
Description: This report discusses a developing issue in the law of search and seizure: whether the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution permits warrantless searches of the content of laptop computers and other electronic storage devices at U.S. borders. The federal courts that have addressed this issue have held that the border search exception to the Fourth Amendment applies to these searches, making warrantless searches permissible.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Federal Domestic Illegal Drug Enforcement Efforts: Are They Working?

Federal Domestic Illegal Drug Enforcement Efforts: Are They Working?

Date: July 28, 2009
Creator: Franco, Celinda
Description: This report examines the federal drug enforcement data reported annually by key agencies charged with enforcing federal drug control laws.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Greenhouse Gas Legislation: Summary and Analysis of H.R. 2454 as Passed by the House of Representatives

Greenhouse Gas Legislation: Summary and Analysis of H.R. 2454 as Passed by the House of Representatives

Date: July 27, 2009
Creator: Holt, Mark & Whitney, Gene
Description: This report offers an introduction and overview of legislation regarding greenhouse gases. It also discusses combined efficiency and renewable electricity standard, geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide, vehicles and fuels, smart grid, energy efficiency, and major cap-and-trade provisions.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Greenhouse Gas Legislation: Summary and Analysis of H.R. 2454 as Passed by the House of Representatives

Greenhouse Gas Legislation: Summary and Analysis of H.R. 2454 as Passed by the House of Representatives

Date: July 27, 2009
Creator: Holt, Mark & Whitney, Gene
Description: H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, contains provisions that would amend the Clean Air Act to establish a cap-and-trade system designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from covered sources 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83% below 2005 levels by 2050. Following an overview, this report contains a section-by-section summary of H.R. 2454 as passed by the House, and interpretive or informative commentary for some sections, when appropriate.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Private Health Insurance Provisions of H.R. 3200

Private Health Insurance Provisions of H.R. 3200

Date: July 27, 2009
Creator: Chaikind, Hinda; Fernandez, Bernadette; Peterson, Chris L. & Morgan, Paulette C.
Description: This report provides a short background describing key aspects of the private insurance market as it exists currently. This information is useful in setting the stage for understanding how and where H.R. 3200 would reform health insurance. Primarily, however, the report summarizes provisions affecting private health insurance in Division A (or Division 1) H.R. 3200, as ordered reported by the House Committees on Education and Labor and on Ways and Means.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Issues Regarding a National Land Parcel Database

Issues Regarding a National Land Parcel Database

Date: July 22, 2009
Creator: Folger, Peter
Description: This report provides a summary of some of the issues regarding the creation of a national land parcel database, or cadastre. The report identifies some of the perceived needs for a national cadastre, legislative and administrative options that could lead to a national land parcel database, and some of the challenges and concerns. The report also summarizes and briefly discusses recommendations in a 2007 National Research Council (NRC) report that concluded "...a national approach is necessary to provide a rational and accountable system of property records."
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Issues Regarding a National Land Parcel Database

Issues Regarding a National Land Parcel Database

Date: July 22, 2009
Creator: Folger, Peter
Description: This report provides a summary of some of the issues regarding the creation of a national land parcel database, or cadastre. The report identifies some of the perceived needs for a national cadastre, legislative and administrative options that could lead to a national land parcel database, and some of the challenges and concerns.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer

Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer

Date: July 21, 2009
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
U.S. Immigration Policy on Permanent Admissions

U.S. Immigration Policy on Permanent Admissions

Date: July 20, 2009
Creator: Wasem, Ruth Ellen
Description: This report discusses the four major principles underlie current U.S. policy on permanent immigration: the reunification of families, the admission of immigrants with needed skills, the protection of refugees, and the diversity of admissions by country of origin.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Background, Legislation, and Funding

Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Background, Legislation, and Funding

Date: July 14, 2009
Creator: James, Nathan
Description: This report discusses the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, which was created by Title I of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-322). The mission of the COPS program is to advance community policing in all jurisdictions across the United States. Several bills introduced in the 111th Congress would either modify the COPS program, reauthorize appropriations for the program, or both.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department