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Climate Change Litigation: A Survey

Description: This report focuses on the legal debate surrounding climate change. Though the first court decision related to climate change appeared 19 years ago, such litigation has proliferated in just the past six.
Date: April 15, 2009
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Tax Credit Bonds: Overview and Analysis

Description: Tax Credit Bonds (TCBs) are a type of bond that offers the holder a federal tax credit instead of interest. This report explains the tax credit mechanism and describes the market for the bonds. It also discusses related pieces of legislation and what the most common uses of the proceeds from TCBs are.
Date: April 16, 2009
Creator: Maguire, Steven
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Controversies over Redefining "Fill Material" Under the Clean Water Act

Description: On May 3, 2002, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) announced a regulation redefining two key terms, "fill material" and "discharge of fill material," in rules that implement Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. This report discusses the 2002 rule, focusing on how it changes which material and types of activities are regulated under Section 404 and the significance of these issues, especially for the mining industry.
Date: April 20, 2009
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Year 2000 Computer Problem: Congressional Issues

Description: Many computers were designed to store a two-digit number for the year, which makes the year 2000 indistinguishable from 1900. Unless they are corrected, many computers will not be able to process dates beyond the year 2000, and may cause many costly problems in commerce and government. In the 106th Congress, hearings are being held and will continue to provide the public with the most accurate information available on the status of Y2K remediations at federal agencies, state and local agencies, private sector entities, and international organizations. Congress may also consider additional legislation to ensure that private sector systems are compliant, to establish emergency preparedness measures to address problems that might occur, and to limit liability associated with Y2K failures for manufacturers and industry groups.
Date: April 22, 2009
Creator: Nunno, Richard M
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Piracy off the Horn of Africa

Description: This report discusses recent (2008-2009) pirate attacks on vessels, including United States vessels, in the waters off the Horn of Africa. The Horn of Africa is sometimes called the Somali Peninsula and includes the nations of Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia. This report explores reasons behind the increased number of pirate attacks in recent years, as well as what efforts are being taken to combat said attacks, including those by the 111th Congress and President Obama and his Administration.
Date: April 24, 2009
Creator: Ploch, Lauren; Blanchard, Christopher M.; O'Rourke, Ronald; Mason, R. Chuck & King, Rawle O.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Tort Claims Act

Description: The Federal Tort Claims Act is the statute by which the United States authorizes tort suits to be brought against itself. With exceptions, it makes the United States liable for injuries caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any federal employee acting within the scope of his employment, in accordance with the law of the state where the act or omission occurred. This report discusses, among other things, the application of the Feres doctrine to suits for injuries caused by medical malpractice in the military, the prohibition of suits by victims of atomic testing, Supreme Court cases interpreting the discretionary function exception, the extent to which federal employees may be held liable for torts they commit in the scope of their employment, and the government contractor defense to products liability design defect suits.
Date: April 27, 2009
Creator: Cohen, Henry & Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Passports: Current Regulations

Description: This report details changes made to travel between the United States and other countries in the Western Hemisphere, including Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean island nations. Such changes include the expansion of time necessary to get a passport, as well as additional passport and proof-of-identity documentation requirements.
Date: April 30, 2009
Creator: Epstein, Susan B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Mexico-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress

Description: This report explores the relationship between the United States and Mexico in terms of trade, drug trafficking, and cooperative disease control and management. Specifically, the report discusses the Mérida Initiative, the trade dispute involving the implementation of NAFTA trucking provisions, Secretary of State Clinton's March 2009 visit to Mexico, and the April 2009 outbreak of the H1N1 "swine flu" virus.
Date: May 1, 2009
Creator: Sullivan, Mark P. & Beittel, June S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Alert Systems for Missing Adults in Eleven States: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report discusses the emerging development of nationwide alert systems to recover missing adults, such as those with mental impairment (such as Alzheimer's disease), developmental disabilities, or suicidal tendencies. This report provides an overview of such alert systems in 11 states: Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, and Virginia. This report also provides a discussion of issues for Congress to consider with respect to the federal role, if any, in developing state alert programs for missing adults.
Date: May 7, 2009
Creator: Fernandes, Adrienne L. & Colello, Kirsten J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

State and Local Restrictions on Employing, Renting Property to, or Providing Services for Unauthorized Aliens: Legal Issues and Recent Judicial Developments

Description: This report discusses the constitutional issues raised in relation to state and local laws intended to deter the presence of unauthorized aliens, along with the implications that federal civil rights statutes might have on the implementation and enforcement of measures restricting such persons' ability to obtain employment, housing, or other state and local benefits or services.
Date: May 8, 2009
Creator: Kim, Yule; Feder, Jody & Smith, Alison M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Supreme Court Nominations, 1789 - 2009: Actions by the Senate, the Judiciary Committee, and the President

Description: This report explains in detail the process of appointing Supreme Court Justices, both as it stands currently and how it has changed over the last two centuries. The report includes a table that lists and describes actions taken by the Senate, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the President on all Supreme Court nominations, from 1789 to the present.
Date: May 13, 2009
Creator: Rutkus, Denis Steven & Bearden, Maureen
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

International Criminal Court Cases in Africa: Status and Policy Issues

Description: This report provides background on ICC investigations in Africa and gives an overview of cases currently before the Court. The report also examines issues raised by the ICC's actions in Africa, including the ICC's possible role in deterring future abuses and the potential impact of international criminal prosecutions on peace processes, ongoing in many countries on the continent.
Date: May 18, 2009
Creator: Arieff, Alexis & Margesson, Rhoda
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

FDA Tobacco Regulation: The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009

Description: This report focuses on the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. It includes a brief discussion of the contrasting views of FDA tobacco regulation held by the public health community and the industry, and provides some analysis of a number of key regulatory issues that the bill raises.
Date: May 28, 2009
Creator: Redhead, Stephen C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Speed of Presidential and Senate Actions on Supreme Court Nominations, 1900 - 2009

Description: This report provides information on the amount of time taken to act on all Supreme Court nominations occurring between 1900 and the present. It focuses on the actual amounts of time that Presidents and the Senate have taken to act (as opposed to the elapsed time between official points in the process). This report focuses on when the Senate became aware of the President's selection (e.g., via a public announcement by the President).
Date: May 29, 2009
Creator: Garrett, R. Sam & Rutkus, Denis Steven
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

Description: On March 15, 2006, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution replacing the Commission on Human Rights with a new Human Rights Council (the Council). The Council was designed to be an improvement over the Commission, which was widely criticized for the composition of its membership when perceived human rights abusers were elected as members. This report discusses the history of the Council, the previous participation of the Bush Administration, the current participation of the Obama Administration, and ongoing international and Congressional concerns of the credibility and effectiveness of the Council.
Date: June 1, 2009
Creator: Blanchfield, Luisa
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Iran Sanctions Act (ISA)

Description: This report discusses the increasing international pressure on Iran to curb its nuclear program and how that pressure discourages foreign firms from investing in Iran's energy sector, hindering Iran's efforts to expand oil production. This report discusses the history and progress of the formal U.S. effort to curb energy investment in Iran, which began with the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) in 1996. This report also discusses U.S. concerns that other nations, e.g., U.S. allies, Russia, and China, are not as strict with their economic sanctions against Iran, and how U.S. policymakers are combating this reticence with various pieces of legislation.
Date: June 4, 2009
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Same-Sex Marriages: Legal Issues

Description: This report discusses the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and legal challenges to it. It reviews legal principles applied to determine the validity of a marriage contracted in another state and surveys the various approaches employed by states to address same-sex marriage. It also examines previous congressional resolutions proposing a constitutional amendment and limiting federal courts' jurisdiction to hear or determine any question pertaining to the interpretation of DOMA.
Date: June 9, 2009
Creator: Smith, Alison M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Employment-Based Health Coverage and Health Reform: Selected Legal Considerations

Description: It is estimated that nearly 170 million individuals have employer-based health coverage. As part of a comprehensive health care reform effort, there has been support (including from the Obama Administration) in enacting comprehensive health insurance reform that retains the employer-based system. This report presents selected legal considerations inherent in amending two of the primary federal laws governing employer-sponsored health care: the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code (IRC).
Date: June 12, 2009
Creator: Staman, Jennifer & Liu, Edward C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department