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Coastal Zone Management Reauthorization: An Overview

Description: Congress is considering legislation that would reauthorize the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972. This overview summarizes the programs created by this act and its amendments, and outlines issues associated with reauthorization. These issues include reauthorizing funding, altering grant programs, changing the National Estuarine Research Reserve system, funding to implement nonpoint water pollution requirements, protecting private property rights, expanding program evaluation efforts, and examining effects of personal water craft on the coastal requirement. A reauthorization bill has been reported by the House Resources Committee (H.R. 2669, H. Rept. 106-485), and floor action is anticipated soon. In the Senate, no action has been taken.
Date: March 14, 2000
Creator: Zinn, Jeffrey A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Economic Sanctions and U.S. Agricultural Exports

Description: Various statutes and regulations authorize the President to restrict or prohibit trade with targeted countries for national security or foreign policy reasons. The exercise of these authorities has resulted in restrictions or prohibitions at times being placed on the export of U.S. agricultural commodities and products. The U.S. government currently restricts exports of agricultural products as part of across-the-board economic sanctions imposed on Cuba and Iraq. Exceptions are made for humanitarian reasons, allowing food to be sold or donated to these two countries.
Date: March 20, 2000
Creator: Jurenas, Remy
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Asbestos Compensation Act of 2000

Description: This report summarizes H.R. 1283, 106th Congress, the Asbestos Compensation Act of 2000, as ordered to be reported with amendments by the House Committee on the Judiciary on March 16, 2000. The bill would create an administrative procedure for asbestos liability claims.
Date: April 13, 2000
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Conservation Reserve Payments and Self-Employment Taxes

Description: Farmers enrolling their land in the Department of Agriculture's Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) receive payments for refraining from farming their property and for engaging in certain conservation practices mandated by the Department of Agriculture. These payments are described in the contract with the Department of Agriculture as "rental payments." Farmers would like to treat the income as "rental income" because it would not be subject to self-employment taxes, but the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) insists that under certain conditions, the payments are income from the trade or business of farming and thus subject to self-employment taxes.
Date: May 1, 2000
Creator: Morris, Marie B
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fact Sheet on Congressional Tax Proposals

Description: A general tax cut (H.R. 2488), costing $792 billion over 10 years, was vetoed in September 1999. A more narrowly focused bill (H.R. 1180) extending certain expiring provisions was adopted in December. Several tax proposals have been or are likely to be considered in 2000. The largest of these was marriage penalty legislation (H.R. 6 and S. 2346). Tax provisions are also included in health care legislation and minimum wage legislation; the latter passed the House on March 9 and included distressed communities legislation and a repeal of the installment sales provision included in the extenders bill. A number of separate tax bills are also under consideration. The general tax cut proposal included across-the-board tax cuts, benefits for married couples, phase-out of the alternative minimum tax, a reduction in capital gains taxes, a phase-out of the estate tax and provisions relating to education and health.
Date: May 25, 2000
Creator: Gravelle, Jane G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

China's Accession to the World Trade Organization: Legal Issues

Description: The People's Republic of China (PRC) applied to resume membership in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1986 and continues to negotiate its accession to GATT's successor, the World Trade Organization (WTO). A country may join the WTO on terms agreed by the applicant and WTO Members if two-thirds of Members approve the country's accession agreement. A Member may "opt out" of WTO relations with another country by invoking Article XIII of the WTO Agreement, its "non-application" clause. The United States and the PRC agreed to bilateral terms for the PRC's accession in November 1999.
Date: June 2, 2000
Creator: Grimmett, Jeanne J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

527 Organizations: How the Differences in Tax and Election Laws Permit Certain Organizations to Engage in Issue Advocacy without Public Disclosure and Proposals for Change

Description: This report compares the tax and election laws relating to political organizations and political committees in an attempt to highlight the differences between them, and discusses some of the proposals in the 106th Congress to require additional reporting by organizations engaging in political activities. This report does not address the taxation of other tax-exempt organizations making political expenditures taxable under IRC § 527. The report will be updated as new proposals are reported.
Date: June 26, 2000
Creator: Morris, Marie B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Civil Service Retirement Bills in the 106th Congress

Description: Among the civil service retirement issues addressed in bills introduced thus far in the 106th Congress are the correction of retirement coverage errors for federal employees assigned to the wrong retirement system; immediate eligibility for federal employees to participate in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP); improved portability of pension benefits; and repeal of the temporary increase in employee retirement contributions that was mandated by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. Other bills would expand TSP eligibility to include members of the armed services; improve pension coverage for temporary and part-time federal employees; and designate several categories of federal employees as law enforcement officers for purposes of determining their retirement benefits.
Date: June 28, 2000
Creator: Purcell, Patrick J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

EPA's Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Program: Highlights of the Final Revised Rule

Description: This report discusses the final rule and the key modifications of the August 1999 proposal. The final rule builds on the current TMDL regulatory program and adds details, specific requirements, and deadlines. It retains the basic elements of the 1999 proposal for more comprehensive identification of impaired waters, schedules and minimum elements for TMDLs, and new public participation requirements. At the same time, dropped from the final rule are several provisions that were most controversial in the proposal, including some potentially affecting agriculture and forestry, one that would have required pollutant discharge offsets in some circumstances, and one that would have required states to identify waters threatened but not yet impaired by pollution
Date: July 18, 2000
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Electricity Restructuring: Comparison of Comprehensive Bills

Description: Once considered the nation's most regulated industry, the electric utility industry is evolving into a more competitive environment. Currently, the focus of this development is the generating sector, where the advent of new generating technologies has lowered both entry barriers to competitors of traditional utilities and the marginal costs of those competitors below those of some traditional utilities. This technological advance has combined with legislative initiatives, such as the Energy Policy Act (EPACT), to encourage the introduction of competitive forces into the electric generating sector.
Date: July 24, 2000
Creator: Parker, Larry & Abel, Amy
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Description: "Soft money" has become one of the major issues in the area of campaign financing in federal elections. The controversy surrounding this issue is due to the perception that soft money may be the largest loophole in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Soft money is broadly defined as funds that are raised and spent according to applicable state laws; that would be impermissible, under the FECA, to spend directly in federal elections and that may have an indirect influence on federal elections. This Issue Brief discusses three major types of soft money: political party soft money, corporate and labor union soft money, and soft money used for issue advocacy communications.
Date: August 10, 2000
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Cleanup and Environmental Programs: Authorization and Appropriations for FY2001

Description: The Department of Defense operates six environmental programs: cleanup of past contamination at military facilities, acceleration of cleanup at military bases designated for closure, compliance with environmental laws and regulations that apply to ongoing military operations, pollution prevention, natural resource conservation, and environmental technology. In addition to these activities, the Department of Energy is responsible for managing defense nuclear waste and remediating contaminated sites. This report discusses the federal laws that established these programs, describes their scope and purpose, provides a history of appropriations, indicates the President’s budget request for FY2001, examines authorization and appropriations legislation for FY2001, and discusses other relevant legislation considered in the 106th Congress.
Date: August 21, 2000
Creator: Bearden, David M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Elementary and Secondary School Teachers: Action by the 106th Congress

Description: The quality and quantity of public elementary and secondary school teachers are of increasing concern to the 106th Congress. Although states and localities are responsible for most aspects of teacher preparation, recruitment, and employment, the federal government supports a wide array of programs for teachers. Several of these programs are being considered for amendment and extension by the 106th Congress including the Eisenhower Professional Development program and the Class Size Reduction program. The 106th Congress has before it a wide array of legislative proposals to address teacher issues. Action has occurred on several proposals. This report tracks such action and will be updated as it occurs.
Date: August 22, 2000
Creator: Stedman, James B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

An Examination of the Issues Surrounding Biotechnology Patenting and Its Effect Upon Entrepreneurial Companies

Description: The biotechnology industry is notable both for its heavy concentration of small businesses and its weighty research and development (R&D) expenditures. Given the small size and heavy expenses of many biotechnology firms, their ability to raise venture capital may be of some consequence. The patent law has been identified as a facilitator of these R&D financing efforts. Congress may choose to exercise oversight on these issues. Such consideration would likely include examination of U.S. commitments in international agreements along with other factors.
Date: August 31, 2000
Creator: Thomas, John R
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

527 Organizations: How the Differences in Tax and Election Laws Permit Certain Organizations to Engage in Issue Advocacy without Public Disclosure and Proposals for Change

Description: Virtually all political organizations are "section 527" political organizations, which means that they are tax-exempt. 527 organizations are created to influence the election or defeat of public officials. This report compares the tax and election laws relating to political organizations and political committees prior to the enactment of P.L. 106-230 in an attempt to highlight the differences between them, and discusses some of the proposals in the 106th Congress to require additional reporting by organizations engaging in political activities. This report does not address the taxation of other tax-exempt organizations making political expenditures taxable under IRC § 527.
Date: September 7, 2000
Creator: Morris, Marie B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

527 Organizations: How the Differences in Tax and Election Laws Permit Certain Organizations to Engage in Issue Advocacy without Public Disclosure and Proposals for Change

Description: This report compares the tax and election laws relating to political organizations and political committees prior to the enactment of P.L. 106-230 in an attempt to highlight the differences between them, and discusses some of the proposals in the 106th Congress to require additional reporting by organizations engaging in political activities. This report does not address the taxation of other tax-exempt organizations making political expenditures taxable under IRC § 527. For developments after the enactment of P.L. 106-230, please see CRS Report RS20650, 527 Organizations: Reporting Requirements Imposed on Political Organizations after the Enactment of P.L. 106-230.
Date: September 7, 2000
Creator: Morris, Marie B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department