Congressional Research Service Reports - 34 Matching Results

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The Bayh-Dole Act: Selected Issues in Patent Policy and the Commercialization of Technology
Congressional interest in facilitating U.S. technological innovation led to the passage of P.L. 96-517, Amendments to the Patent and Trademark Act, commonly referred to as the "Bayh-Dole Act" after its two main sponsors former Senators Robert Dole and Birch Bayh. 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. This report discusses the rationale behind the passage of P.L. 96-517, its provisions, and implementation of the law.
Racial Profiling: Legal and Constitutional Issues
Racial profiling is the practice of targeting individuals for police or security detention based on their race or ethnicity in the belief that certain minority groups are more likely to engage in unlawful behavior. Examples of racial profiling by law enforcement agencies suggest that minorities are disproportionately the subject of security-related practices. The issue has periodically attracted congressional interest and several courts have considered the constitutional ramifications of the practice as an "unreasonable search and seizure" under the Fourth Amendment and, more recently, as a denial of the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection guarantee. A variety of federal and state statutes provide potential relief to individuals who claim that their rights are violated by race-based law enforcement practices and policies.
"Sense of" Resolutions and Provisions
This report discusses specific kinds of resolutions by which Congress may formally express opinions about subjects of current national interest through freestanding simple or concurrent resolutions (called generically "sense of the House," "sense of the Senate," or "sense of the Congress" resolutions). These opinions expressing the views of one or both chambers may be included in other legislation upon introduction or subsequently added by amendment. This report identifies the various forms these expressions may take and the procedures governing such actions.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' Immigration Fees and Adjudication Costs: Proposed Adjustments and Historical Context
This report discusses the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service's (USCIS) newly proposed fee schedule for immigration services. Issues for Congress to consider might include how USCIS fees have been computed and justified; whether anticipated revenue from revised fees will cover agency costs; how fiscal shortfalls might be funded; and what impact higher fees might have on the applicant pool.
U.S. Sanctions on Burma
This report provides a brief history of U.S. policy towards Burma and the development of U.S. sanctions, a topical summary of those sanctions, and an examination of additional sanctions that have been considered, but not enacted, by Congress, or that could be imposed under existing law or executive orders. The report concludes with a discussion of options for Congress.
An Overview of the "Patent Trolls" Debate
This report reviews the current debate and controversy surrounding "patent assertion entities" (PAEs) and their effect on innovation, examines the reasons for the rise in PAE litigation, and explores the legislative options available to Congress if it decides that these are issues that should be addressed.
U.S. Naturalization Policy
This report reviews the rights and obligations that come with naturalization. It examines the naturalization process, discusses recent trends regarding who, among the roughly 1 million immigrants entering the United States each year, ultimately becomes a U.S. citizen, and discusses recent naturalization-related policy issues.
Introduction to the Legislative Process in the U.S. Congress
This report introduces the main steps through which a bill (or other item of business) may travel in the legislative process--from introduction to committee and floor consideration to possible presidential consideration.
The House May Vote to File an Amicus Brief: Is this Unprecedented?
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.
What Does Justice Scalia's Death Mean for Congress and the Nation?
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.
Federal Civil and Criminal Penalties Possibly Applicable to Parties Responsible for the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
Since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill began on April 20, 2010, Congress has given much attention to the compensatory liability provisions of the Oil Pollution Act and, to a lesser extent, those of the Jones Act and the Death on the High Seas Act. However, federal laws possibly relevant to the oil spill also impose civil and criminal money penalties, which may reach dollar amounts in connection with the Gulf spill greater than those for compensatory liability. This report summarizes selected federal civil and criminal penalty provisions that may be found violated in connection with the Gulf spill and related worker fatalities.
FY2016 Changes to DOD's 1033 Program
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.
Federal Civil and Criminal Penalties Possibly Applicable to Parties Responsible for the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill that began on April 20, 2010 lead Congress to give attention to the compensatory liability provisions of the Oil Pollution Act and, to a lesser extent, those of the Jones Act and the Death on the High Seas Act. However, federal laws possibly relevant to the oil spill also impose civil and criminal money penalties, which may reach dollar amounts in connection with the Gulf spill greater than those for compensatory liability. This report summarizes selected federal civil and criminal penalty provisions that may be found violated in connection with the Gulf spill and related worker fatalities.
The International Criminal Court (ICC): Jurisdiction, Extradition, and U.S. Policy
This report focuses on the process by which the Office of the Prosecutor investigates allegations of war crimes and second on U.S policy towards the International Criminal Court (ICC) and how the court might assert jurisdiction over U.S. nationals.
The Department of the Interior's Final Rule on Offshore Well Control
This report discusses regulations regarding blowout preventer systems and well control for oil and gas operations on the U.S. outer continental shelf (81 Fed. Reg. 25887). The regulations aim to reduce the risk of an offshore oil or gas blowout that could jeopardize human safety and harm the environment.
Compulsory DNA Collection: A Fourth Amendment Analysis
This report examines statutory authorities, constitutional principles, and case law related to compulsory DNA extraction and analyzes potential impacts of recent developments for Fourth Amendment cases.
Nominations to the Supreme Court During Years of Divided and Unified Party Government
This report provides data and analysis related to nominations made to the Supreme Court during years of unified and divided party government.
Federal Pollution Control Laws: How Are They Enforced?
This report provides an overview of the statutory framework, key players, infrastructure, resources, tools, and operations associated with enforcement and compliance of the major pollution control laws and regulations administered by EPA. It also outlines the roles of federal (including regional offices) and state regulators, as well as the regulated community.
Water Infrastructure Financing: Proposals to Create a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program
This report discusses the "Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act," or WIFIA, program, which is one legislative option to finance water infrastructure projects.
Abortion Services and Military Medical Facilities
The purpose of this report is to describe and discuss the provisions for providing abortion services to military personnel, their dependents, and other military health care beneficiaries at military medical facilities. The report describes the history of these provisions, with particular emphasis on legislative actions. Finally, this report discusses a number of proposals to modify the law, as well as other related legislative and administrative actions.
Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties
The change in Russia's trade status will require legislation to lift the restrictions currently applied to Russia under Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974, which includes the "freedom-of-emigration" requirements of the Jackson-Vanik amendment. The process for Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) is proceeding and may be completed soon. As a result, Members may confront the issue of whether to grant Russia permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status during the 112th Congress.
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.
Federal Stafford Act Disaster Assistance: Presidential Declarations, Eligible Activities, and Funding
This report provides an overview of the Stafford Act and Stafford Act declarations. The report discusses the types of assistance and eligibility, funding caps and cost shares, hazard mitigation assistance, disaster relief funds, and other issues for the 111th Congress.
International Drug Control Policy: Background and U.S. Responses
The global illegal drug trade represents a multi-dimensional challenge that has implications for U.S. national interests as well as the international community. This report discusses U.S. international policy frameworks and approaches in response to the issue.
The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and Its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape
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.
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Act (the "SAFER Act") was enacted by the 108th Congress as part of the FY2004 National Defense Authorization Act. This report describes the SAFER Act in brief, discusses possible budgetary modifications to the SAFER Act that are being considered due to the recent economic downturn, and explores related issues for the 112th Congress as they consider reauthorization.
International Drug Control Policy: Background and U.S. Responses
This report discusses challenges created by the global illegal drug trade, including: undermining political and regional stability, bolstering the role and capabilities of transnational criminal organizations in the drug trade, and the burden caused by drug use an addition on local communities and economic development. In addition, this report discusses U.S. policy efforts to thwart illegal drug trade.
Insurance and Climate Change: Do Governments Have a Duty to Protect Property Owners?
This legal sidebar discusses the climate change in context of federal and private insurers. One of the many insurance company concerns is whether the government can be held liable for not putting in place adequate infrastructure to protect against property damage from climate-change-related extreme weather.
U.S.-Mexican Security Cooperation: the Mérida Initiative and Beyond
This report looks at the funding and Congressional oversight for this the joint U.S.-Mexico effort to curb drug trafficking and violence via the Initiative.
U.S.-EU Cooperation on Ukraine and Russia
This report discusses the United States, and European Union policies with Russia in response to the crisis in Ukraine.
Oil Spills: Background and Governance
This report reviews the history and trends of oil spills in the United States, and identifies the legal authorities governing oil spill prevention, response, and cleanup.
Iran Sanctions
This report looks at the purposes and results of U.S. sanctions on Iran, which were initiated as a result of Iran's nuclear program and human rights issues. It ends by discussing future issues that Congress can consider regarding the sanctions.
Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances
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.
U.S.-Mexican Security Cooperation: the Mérida Initiative and Beyond
This report looks at the funding and Congressional oversight for the U.S.-Mexican governments joint effort to curb drug trafficking and violence via the Initiative.