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Compensatory Time vs. Cash Wages: Amending the Fair Labor Standards Act?

Description: In the 108th Congress, two work hours flexibility bills have been introduced: S. 317 by Senator Gregg and H.R. 1119 by Representative Biggert. Both bills deal with a compensatory time off option (comp time) — though the Gregg proposal is somewhat broader, projecting other changes in the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as well. This report is limited to consideration of the issue of comp time.
Date: April 29, 2003
Creator: Whittaker, William G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): Controversies for the 108th Congress

Description: This report discusses the ongoing debate about whether or not to approve energy development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Current law forbids energy leasing in the Refuge. This report addresses several legislative options on the issue, as well as policymakers' arguments for and against development, especially in the wake of increasing terrorism since 2000-2001.
Date: April 24, 2003
Creator: Corn, M. Lynne; Gelb, Bernard A. & Baldwin, Pamela
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Compliance with the HIPAA Medical Privacy Rule

Description: As of April 14, 2003, most health care providers (including doctors and hospitals) and health plans are required to comply with the new Privacy Rule mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”), and must comply with national standards to protect individually identifiable health information. The HIPAA Privacy Rule creates a federal floor of privacy protections for individually identifiable health information; establishes a set of basic consumer protections; institutes a series of regulatory permissions for uses and disclosures of protected health information; permits any person to file an administrative complaint for violations; and authorizes the imposition of civil or criminal penalties.
Date: April 24, 2003
Creator: Stevens, Gina Marie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Energy Policy: The Continuing Debate

Description: On April 11, 2003, the House passed comprehensive energy legislation, H.R. 6 (247-175).Action on comprehensive energy legislation is in progress in the Senate. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee began markup of a comprehensive energy bill on April 7, 2003, agreeing by week’s end to provisions regarding hydrogen, hydroelectric relicensing, nuclear and renewable energy. On April 11, 2003, Chairman Domenici pulled a controversial section on climate change from the bill and indicated it would be addressed later.
Date: April 23, 2003
Creator: Bamberger, Robert L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Estate Tax Legislation in the 108th Congress

Description: Under provisions of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA, P.L. 107-16, enacted June 7, 2001), the estate tax is scheduled to be repealed in 2010 but reinstated in 2011. All tax cut provisions of EGTRRA are scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2010. This report tracks actions in the 108th Congress to permanently repeal the estate tax or to retain but alter the tax.
Date: April 23, 2003
Creator: Noto, Nonna A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Clean Air Act Issues in the 108th Congress

Description: Clean air issues were discussed at length in the 107th Congress, but legislation was not enacted, leaving the same issues for possible consideration in the 108th. The most prominent air quality issues discussed in this report are; the controversy over EPA’s proposed changes to the New Source Review (NSR) requirements, Clear Skies / Multi-Pollutant Legislation, gasoline additive MTBE, Conformity of Transportation Plans and SIPs Deadlines for Achieving the Ozone Air Quality Standard.
Date: April 21, 2003
Creator: McCarthy, James E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Energy Policy: The Continuing Debate

Description: On April 10, 2003, the House passed comprehensive energy legislation, H.R. 6 (247- 175). The bill was a composite of four measures – H.R. 39, reported from the House Committee on Resources, H.R. 238, marked up by the House Science Committee, H.R. 1531, reported from Ways and Means, and an unnumbered bill reported out of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Unlike comprehensive energy legislation (H.R. 4) debated in the 107th Congress, H.R. 6 includes a section on electricity which has stirred some controversy. H.R. 6 would provide authorization for exploration and development of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
Date: April 17, 2003
Creator: Bamberger, Robert L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Clean Water Act Issues in the 108th Congress

Description: In this report several other Clean Water Act issues are likely to receive congressional attention, through oversight hearings and possibly in legislative proposals. Among the topics of interest is whether and how the Administration will revise the current program for restoration of pollution-impaired waters (the Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL program), in view of controversy over regulatory changes made during the Clinton Administration and continuing disagreement among states, cities, industry, and environmental advocates about program effectiveness and efficiency.
Date: April 16, 2003
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Brownfields and Superfund Issues in the 108th Congress

Description: The Superfund program for cleaning up the nation’s worst hazardous waste sites was created by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, or CERCLA (P.L. 96-510, as amended). This report discusses recent development and background issues, superfund issues, revenue issues, comprehensive reauthorization, and legislation regarding superfund program.
Date: April 15, 2003
Creator: Reisch, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Description: Prior to enactment of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), P.L. 107-155, the term “soft money” generally referred to unregulated funds, perceived as resulting from loopholes in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), 2 U.S.C. §§ 431 et seq. Generally, the intent of BCRA, (effective Nov. 6, 2002), which amends FECA, is to restrict the raising and spending of soft money. This Issue Brief discusses constitutional and legal issues surrounding two major types of soft money that BCRA regulates: political party soft money and soft money used for issue advocacy communications. Corporate and labor union soft money, which FECA exempts from regulation and is not addressed by BCRA, is also discussed.
Date: April 15, 2003
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Electoral College: Reform Proposals in the 108th Congress

Description: American voters elect the President and Vice President of the United States under a complex arrangement of constitutional provisions, federal and state laws, and political party practices known as the electoral college system. Despite occasional close elections, this system has delivered uncontested results in 46 of 50 elections since adoption of the 12th Amendment, effective in 1804. Throughout this period, nevertheless, it has been the subject of persistent criticism and many reform proposals. Related measures fall into two basic categories: those that would eliminate the electoral college and substitute direct popular election of the President and Vice President, and those that would retain the existing system in some form and correct perceived defects.
Date: April 15, 2003
Creator: Neale, Thomas H
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Endangered Species Act: Consideration of Economic Factors

Description: The Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides for the listing and protection of species that are found to be “endangered” or “threatened” – species that might become extinct. The listing of a species as endangered triggers the prohibitions in the Act against “taking” (killing or harming) individuals of the protected species, unless a permit is obtained to take individuals incidental to an otherwise lawful proposed action, or an exemption for the proposed action is obtained. Unauthorized taking of a listed species can result in civil or criminal penalties. These prohibitions and potential penalties can affect various activities, including development and use of land, with attendant economic impacts.
Date: April 15, 2003
Creator: Baldwin, Pamela
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Energy Efficiency: Budget, Oil Conservation, and Electricity Conservation Issues

Description: In the 108th Congress, debate over energy efficiency programs has focused on budget, oil, natural gas, and electricity issues, and provisions in the omnibus energy policy bill, S. 2095, H.R. 6, and S. 14/S. 1149. The Bush Administration’s FY2005 budget request for the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Energy Efficiency Program sought $875.9 million, including $543.9 for R&D and $332.0 million for grants. In the first session, the omnibus energy bill (H.R. 6) had several significant tax and regulatory measures for energy efficiency. It did not pass the Senate due to concerns about cost and an MTBE “safe harbor” provision.
Date: April 15, 2003
Creator: Sissine, Fred
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

"Junk E-mail": An Overview of Issues and Legislation Concerning Unsolicited Commercial Electronic Mail ("Spam")

Description: Unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE), also called “spam” or “junk e-mail,” aggravates many computer users. Not only can it be a nuisance, but its cost may be passed on to consumers through higher charges from Internet service providers who must upgrade their systems to handle the traffic. Proponents of UCE insist it is a legitimate marketing technique and protected by the First Amendment. Legislation to place limits on UCE was considered by the last three Congresses (105th-107th), but no federal law was enacted (27 states have anti-spam laws, however). Two bills have been introduced in the 108th Congress: S. 563 (Dayton) and S. 877 (Burns).
Date: April 15, 2003
Creator: Smith, Marcia S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department