Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

ABOUT BROWSE FEED

Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment

Description: This report provides an overview of the major exceptions to the First Amendment - of the ways that the Supreme Court has interpreted the guarantee of freedom of speech and press to provide no protection or only limited protection for some types of speech. For example, the Court has decided that the First Amendment provides no protection to obscenity, child pornography, or speech that constitutes "advocacy of the use of force or of law violation ... where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action."
Date: October 16, 2009
Creator: Cohen, Henry
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

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

The "Son of Sam" Case: Legislative Implications

Description: In Simon & Schuster, Inc. v. Members of the new York State Crime Victims Board, the U.S. Supreme Court held that New York State's "Son of Sam" law was inconsistent with the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech and press. This report examines the Supreme Court decision and then considers whether its rationale renders the federal law unconstitutional. Concluding that it likely does, the report considers whether it would be possible to enact a constitutional Son-of-Sam statute. Finally, the report takes note of some state Son-of-Sam statutes that have been enacted since the Supreme Court decision.
Date: November 30, 1998
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

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

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

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

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

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

Farm Product "Check-Off" Programs: A Constitutional Analysis

Description: This report begins with a brief introduction to check-off programs and then describes many of the First Amendment principles that have been discussed in checkoff cases. Next is an analysis of the first two challenges that reached the Supreme Court, as well as a brief discussion of subsequent lower court decisions. This report concludes with a discussion of Johanns v. Livestock Marketing Association and its possible implications for check-off programs.
Date: June 21, 2005
Creator: Vina, Stephen R
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Constitutionality of Proposals to Prohibit the Sale or Rental to Minors of Video Games with Violent or Sexual Content or "Strong Language"

Description: It has been proposed that Congress prohibit the sale or rental to minors of video games that are rated “M” (mature) or “AO” (adults-only) by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. This board is a non-governmental entity established by the Interactive Digital Software Association, and its ratings currently have no legal effect.
Date: January 18, 2006
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

"Sensitive but Unclassified" Information and Other Controls: Policy and Options for Scientific and Technical Information

Description: This report traces the evolution of "sensitive but unclassified" or SBU-related controls; summarizes actions taken to protect certain types of scientific and technical information; describes critiques of some control policies; and summarizes proposals and actions, including congressional, executive and other initiatives, to clarify these issues and develop policies that serve various stakeholders. It also raises issues that may warrant further attention.
Date: February 15, 2006
Creator: Knezo, Genevieve J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Balancing Scientific Publication and National Security Concerns: Issues for Congress

Description: There is a lack of consensus regarding the best method of balancing scientific publishing and national security. The current federal policy, as described in National Security Decision Directive 189, is that fundamental research should remain unrestricted and that in the rare case where it is necessary to restrict such information, classification is the appropriate vehicle to do so. Other mechanisms restrict international information flow, where Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) control export of items and technical information on specific lists. Both EAR and ITAR contain a fundamental research exclusion, but this exclusion is lost if prepublication review of research results for sensitive information occurs.
Date: February 2, 2006
Creator: Shea, Dana A
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Communications Act Revisions: Selected Issues for Consideration

Description: This report provides an overview of selected topics which the 109th Congress may address in its examination of telecommunications issues. The issues included in this report cover: broadband Internet regulation and access; broadcast indecency; digital television transition; Federal Communications Commission structure and reform; intercarrier compensation; media ownership rules; municipal deployment of broadband; public safety communications, the “savings clause” and monopoly issues; spectrum auctions; and universal service fund reform.
Date: January 23, 2006
Creator: Gilroy, Angele A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department