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Child Welfare Issues in the 108th Congress

Description: The purpose of this report is to present a number of generally less broad legislative proposals related to child welfare financing have been introduced in the 108th Congress. Additional child welfare-related proposals designed to improve services, promote timely placement of children across state lines, and for other purposes, are described in this report.
Date: June 23, 2003
Creator: Stoltzfus, Emilie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Class Actions and Proposed Reform in the 108th Congress: Class Action Fairness Act of 2003

Description: The report discusses the consumer class action bill of rights in each proposal contains safeguards which provide for judicial scrutiny of coupon and other non-cash settlements, protection against a proposed settlement that would result in a net loss to a class member, protection against discrimination based upon geographic location, and prohibition on a class representative receiving a greater share of the award.
Date: June 23, 2003
Creator: Wallace, Paul Starett, Jr.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campaign Finance: Issues Before the U.S. Supreme Court in McConnell v. FEC

Description: This report provides a summary of the issues presented by 12 groups of appellants in their jurisdictional statements in 2003. Shortly after the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), P.L. 107-155 (H.R. 2356, 107th Cong.) was enacted in March 2002 (also known as the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation), Senator Mitch McConnell and others filed suit in U.S. District Court for D.C. against the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) arguing that provisions of the law are unconstitutional. Ultimately, eleven suits challenging BCRA were brought by more than 80 plaintiffs and consolidated into one lead case, McConnell v. FEC. On May 2, 2003, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued its decision in McConnell v. FEC, No. 02-CV-0582 striking down some key provisions of the law as unconstitutional, but on May 19, it issued a stay of its ruling, which leaves BCRA, as enacted, in effect until the Supreme Court issues a decision. (For information about the decision, see CRS Report RS21511, Campaign Finance: Brief Overview of McConnell v. FEC.) Under the BCRA expedited review provision, the court's decision will be reviewed directly by the U.S. Supreme Court, which scheduled oral argument for September 8, 2003.
Date: June 20, 2003
Creator: Whitaker, L. P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Energy Tax Incentives: A Comparison of the Senate Finance Committee Bill (S.1149) and the House Bill (H.R.6)

Description: The 108th Congress is considering two major bills to provide tax incentives to increase the supply of, and reduce the demand for, fossil fuels and electricity: S.1149, the Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2003, approved by the Senate Finance Committee (SFC) on April 2, 2003 (superseding S. 597), and H.R. 6, introduced as H.R. 1531 and approved by the House on April 11, 2003, by a vote of 247-175.
Date: June 19, 2003
Creator: Lazzari, Salvatore
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Medicare Prescription Drug and Reform Legislation

Description: This report describes the major features of S. 1, as ordered reported, and the measure to be considered by the House Ways and Means Committee, H.R. 2473, as ordered reported.
Date: June 19, 2003
Creator: O'Sullivan, Jennifer; Chaikind, Hinda Ripps; Tilson, Sibyl L; Boulanger, Jennifer & Morgan, Paulette C
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Country-of-Origin Labeling for Foods

Description: Federal law requires most imports, including many food items, to bear labels informing the “ultimate purchaser” of their country of origin. Meats, produce, and several other raw agricultural products generally have been exempt. The omnibus farm law (P.L. 107-171) signed on May 13, 2002, contains a requirement that many retailers provide, starting on September 30, 2004, country-of-origin labeling (COOL) on fresh fruits and vegetables, red meats, seafood, and peanuts. The program is voluntary until then. USDA on October 8, 2002, issued guidelines for the voluntary labeling program.
Date: June 18, 2003
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fact Sheet on Congressional Tax Proposals in the 108th Congress

Description: This report discusses the President, House and Senate tax proposals. Beyond the comprehensive tax proposals, both the House and the Senate have considered a range of targeted tax proposals. One of the first tax-related measures considered during the 108th Congress would provide tax reductions to armed services personnel. Congress has also initiated reconsideration of legislation not completed in the 107th Congress: tax incentives for charitable giving deductions, pension diversification, energy taxation, and tax shelters.
Date: June 18, 2003
Creator: Richards, Don C.
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 spam 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. While 33 states have anti-spam laws, there is no federal law. Six bills addressing the spam issue are pending in the 108th Congress: H.R. 1933 (Lofgren), H.R. 2214 (Burr-Tauzin-Sensenbrenner), S. 563 (Dayton), S. 877 (Burns-Wyden), S. 1052 (Nelson-FL), and S. 1231 (Schumer). Spam on wireless devices such as cell phones is discussed in CRS Report RL31636, Wireless Privacy: Availability of Location Information for Telemarketing.
Date: June 18, 2003
Creator: Smith, Marcia S.
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: June 17, 2003
Creator: Noto, Nonna A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Medicare: Beneficiary Cost-Sharing Under Proposed Prescription Drug Benefits

Description: This report examines these proposals as well as the “Medicare Rx Drug Benefit and Discount Act of 2003,” which was introduced by Representative Charles Rangel, the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Specifically, this report provides background on how the cost-sharing and premium provisions under each bill would affect the amount that a beneficiary pays annually for prescription drugs.
Date: June 17, 2003
Creator: Peterson, Chris L
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campaign Activity by Churches: Legal Analysis of Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act, H.R. 235 (108th Congress)

Description: Churches and other Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations can lose their tax-exempt status if they participate in a political campaign. The Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act, H.R. 235 (108th Congress) would permit churches to engage in limited types of political campaign activity, in unlimited amounts, without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status. This report provides an overview of current tax and campaign finance law relevant to this legislation, a discussion of how H.R. 235 (108th Congress) would amend current law, and a comparison of H.R. 235 (108th Congress) to H.R. 2357 (107th Congress).
Date: June 16, 2003
Creator: Morris, Marie B. & Whitaker, L. Paige
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: June 13, 2003
Creator: Corn, M. Lynne; Gelb, Bernard A. & Baldwin, Pamela
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: June 13, 2003
Creator: Bamberger, Robert L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department