Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

ABOUT BROWSE FEED

Obscenity, Child Pornography, and Indecency: Brief Background and Recent Developments

Description: The First Amendment provides that “Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. ...” The First Amendment applies, with two exceptions, to pornography, with that term being used to refer to any words or pictures of a sexual nature. This report discusses the two exceptions, which are obscenity and child pornography; because these are not protected by the First Amendment, they may be, and have been, made illegal. Pornography and “indecent” material that are protected by the First Amendment may nevertheless be restricted in order to limit minors’ access to them.
Date: October 6, 2009
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Sending Mail to Members of the Armed Forces at Reduced or Free Postage: An Overview

Description: This report discusses proposed legislation to establish a free-mail-to-troops postage benefit. Various bills introduced in Congress would provide members of the Armed Forces serving overseas with free-postage vouchers every month. Recipients of these vouchers would be able to transfer them to family members or other persons in the United States, who then could use the vouchers to mail a letter or package to the troops postage-free.
Date: September 29, 2009
Creator: Kosar, Kevin R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Post Office and Retail Postal Facility Closures: Overview and Issues for Congress

Description: The United States Postal Service (USPS) announced in May 2009 that it was considering the closure of 3,105 of its 4,851 post office branches and stations. Since the original announcement, the USPS has indicated that the number of possible closures may be more than 3,200. This report provides (1) information on this recent announcement; (2) historical data on the number of post offices and other retail postal facilities; (3) an explanation of the legal authorities relevant to retail postal facility closures; (4) a review of the retail postal facility closure processes, including data on public appeals of closures, and H.R. 658's proposed alterations to the processes; and (5) a concluding discussion that suggests observations and possible issues for Congress.
Date: July 23, 2009
Creator: Kosar, Kevin R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Post Office and Retail Postal Facility Closures: Overview and Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides information on the announcement that the United States Postal Service was considering the closure of 3,105 branches; historical data on the number of post offices and other retail postal facilities; an explanation of the legal authorities relevant to retail postal facility closures; a review of the retail postal facility closure processes, including data on public appeals of closures, and H.R. 658's proposed alterations to the processes; and a concluding discussion that suggests observations and possible issues for Congress.
Date: July 23, 2009
Creator: Kosar, Kevin R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The U.S. Newspaper Industry in Transition

Description: This report analyzes China's mixed record on human rights: major human rights problems, new human rights legislation, and the development of civil society, legal awareness, and social and political activism. This report discusses major areas of interest but does not provide an exhaustive account of all human rights abuses or related incidents.
Date: July 8, 2009
Creator: Kirchoff, Suzanne M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The U.S. Newspaper Industry in Transition

Description: This report analyzes the current crises that the U.S. newspaper industry is facing in light of the recent economic downturn and the increasing number of readers who turn to the Internet for their news instead of to traditional media. Congress has begun debating whether the financial problems in the newspaper industry pose a public policy issue that warrants federal action.
Date: July 8, 2009
Creator: Kirchoff, Suzanne M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Sending Mail to Members of the Armed Forces at Reduced or Free Postage: An Overview

Description: This report discusses proposed legislation to establish a free-mail-to-troops postage benefit. Various bills introduced in Congress would provide members of the Armed Forces serving overseas with free-postage vouchers every month. Recipients of these vouchers would be able to transfer them to family members or other persons in the United States, who then could use the vouchers to mail a letter or package to the troops postage-free.
Date: April 27, 2009
Creator: Kosar, Kevin R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Obscenity and Indecency: Constitutional Principles and Federal Statutes

Description: his report examines federal law regarding obscenity and indecency. The First Amendment provides: “Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” In general, the First Amendment protects pornography, with this term being used to mean any erotic material. The Supreme Court, however, has held that the First Amendment does not protect two types of pornography: obscenity and child pornography. Consequently, they may be banned on the basis of their content, and federal law prohibits the mailing of obscenity, as well as its transport or receipt in interstate or foreign commerce.
Date: January 21, 2009
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The 2009 U.N. Durban Review Conference: Follow-Up to the 2001 U.N. World Conference Against Racism

Description: This report provides information on the 2001 World Conference Against Racism and the circumstances of U.S. withdrawal. It discusses preparations for the Durban Review Conference, including U.S. policy and reaction from other governments. It highlights possible issues for the 111th Congress, including the Review Conference preparatory process, U.S. funding of the Conference, and the political and diplomatic impact of U.S. engagement.
Date: November 20, 2008
Creator: Blanchfield, Luisa
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Siting of Wireless Communications Facilities: An Overview of Federal, State, and Local Law

Description: The siting of wireless communications facilities has been a topic of controversy in communities all over the United States. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 governs federal, state, and local regulation of the siting of communications towers by placing certain limitations on local zoning authority without totally preempting state and local law. This report provides an overview of the federal, state, and local laws governing the siting of wireless communications facilities.
Date: September 4, 2008
Creator: Ruane, Kathleen
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Journalists' Privilege: Overview of the Law and Legislation in the 109th and 110th Congresses

Description: This report discusses the journalists' privilege, provides and overview of the law, describes the Grand Jury Subpoena related to the Judith Miller case, and gives an overview of the congressional response in the 109th and 110th Congresses.
Date: July 29, 2008
Creator: Cohen, Henry & Ruane, Kathleen Ann
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Journalists’ Privilege: Overview of the Law and Legislation in the 109th and 110th Congresses

Description: This report examines laws pertaining to journalists' privilege. Most states afford journalists some protection from compelled release of their confidential sources. The question remains, however, as to whether a concomitant federal privilege exists. The Supreme Court has addressed the issue of journalists’ privilege under the First Amendment only once; in Branzburg v. Hayes, it left open the question of whether the First Amendment provides journalists with any privilege.
Date: September 28, 2007
Creator: Cohen, Henry & Ann Ruane, Kathleen
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Speechwriting in Perspective: A Brief Guide to Effective and Persuasive Communication

Description: This report seeks to provide some guidance for congressional staff on the principles and practice of speechwriting. The suggestions offered herein, when combined with practice, attention to audience and occasion, and, most importantly, the Member’s attitudes, convictions, and style, can help create a speech that can be a “seamless garment” when delivered by the Member.
Date: April 12, 2007
Creator: Neale, Thomas H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act

Description: President George W. Bush signed the Postal Enhancement and Accountability Act (P.L. 109-435) on December 20, 2006. This report briefly describes Congress’s pursuit of postal reform, summarizes the major provisions of the new postal reform law, and identifies possible P.L. 109-435 oversight issues for Congress.
Date: January 22, 2007
Creator: Kosar, Kevin R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Open Access Publishing and Citation Archives: Background and Controversy

Description: This report begins with an inventory of basic information: definitions and guides to histories of the growth of open access publishing and citation archives and descriptions of selected major open access activities. It moves on to summarize major points of difference between proponents and opponents of nongovernmental open access publishing and databases, and then highlights federal, including National Institutes of Health (NIH), open access activities and contentious issues surrounding these developments. The report also briefly describes open access developments in the United Kingdom (where a number of governmental and nongovernmental initiatives have occurred) and in the international arena. Finally, controversial issues which could receive attention the 110th Congress are summarized.
Date: December 12, 2006
Creator: Knezo, Genevieve J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Free Mail for Troops Overseas

Description: Members of the armed forces on duty in designated combat areas can send personal correspondence, free of postage, to addresses in the United States. There has never been a comparable provision of free postage for letters or packages sent from family members in the United States to loved ones in wartime service overseas. This report discusses two bills (H.R. 923 and H.R. 2874) that were introduced in the 109th Congress that would have allowed family members and, in the case of H.R. 2874, certain charities to send letters and packages to servicemen and women in combat zones free of postage.
Date: October 19, 2006
Creator: Kosar, Kevin R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Open Access Publishing and Citation Archives: Background and Controversy

Description: This report begins with an inventory of basic information: definitions and guides to histories of the growth of open access publishing and citation archives and descriptions of selected major open access activities. It moves on to summarize major points of difference between proponents and opponents of nongovernmental open access publishing and databases, and then highlights federal, including National Institutes of Health (NIH), open access activities and contentious issues surrounding these developments. The report also briefly describes open access developments in the United Kingdom (where a number of governmental and nongovernmental initiatives have occurred) and in the international arena. Finally, controversial issues which could receive attention in the 109th Congress are summarized.
Date: October 10, 2006
Creator: Knezo, Genevieve J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Free Mail for Troops Overseas

Description: Members of the armed forces on duty in designated combat areas can send personal correspondence, free of postage, to addresses in the United States. There has never been a comparable provision of free postage of letters or packages sent from family members in the United States to loved ones in wartime service overseas. Two bills (H.R. 923 and H.R. 2874) have been introduced that would allow family members and, in the case o H.R. 2874, certain charities to send letters and packages to service men and women in combat zones free of postage.
Date: August 22, 2006
Creator: Stevens, Nye
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Changing Postal ZIP Code Boundaries

Description: This report discusses the changing of ZIP Code system and the implications of such an action. The process places responsibility on district managers, rather than local postmasters, to review requests for boundary adjustment, to evaluate costs and benefits of alternative solutions to identified problems, and to provide a decision within 60 days.
Date: June 23, 2006
Creator: Stevens, Nye
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Free Mail for Troops Overseas

Description: Members of the armed forces on duty in designated combat areas can send personal correspondence, free of postage, to addresses in the United States. There has never been a comparable provision of free postage for letters or packages sent from family members in the United States to loved ones in wartime service overseas. Two bills (H.R. 923 and H.R. 2874) have been introduced that would allow family members and, in the case of H.R. 2874, certain charities to send letters and packages to servicemen and women in combat zones free of postage. H.R. 923 in amended form as a bill that would allow service members overseas to send vouchers to family or loved ones that would be redeemable for the postage expenses of one letter of 15-pound package per month is included in the FY2007 Defense Authorization Act, which is now awaiting action in the Senate.
Date: June 22, 2006
Creator: Stevens, Nye
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Open Access Publishing and Citatation Archives: Background and Controversy

Description: This report begins with an inventory of basic information: definitions and guides to histories of the growth of open access publishing and citation archives and descriptions of selected major open access activities. It moves on to summarize major points of difference between proponents and opponents of nongovernmental open access publishing and databases, and then highlights federal, including National Institutes of Health (NIH), open access activities and contentious issues surrounding these developments. The report also briefly describes open access developments in the United Kingdom (where a number of governmental and nongovernmental initiatives have occurred) and in the international arena. Finally, controversial issues which could receive attention in the 109th Congress are summarized.
Date: June 22, 2006
Creator: Knezo, Genevieve J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Open Access Publishing and Citation Archives: Background and Controversy

Description: This report begins with an inventory of basic information: definitions and guides to histories of the growth of open access publishing and citation archives and descriptions of selected major open access activities. It moves on to summarize major points of difference between proponents and opponents of nongovernmental open access publishing and databases, and then highlights federal, including National Institutes of Health (NIH), open access activities and contentious issues surrounding these developments. The report also briefly describes open access developments in the United Kingdom (where a number of governmental and nongovernmental initiatives have occurred) and in the international arena. Finally, controversial issues which could receive attention in the 109th Congress are summarized.
Date: May 5, 2006
Creator: Knezo, Genevieve J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department