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National Flood Insurance Program: Background, Challenges, and Financial Status

Description: This report provides an analysis of the NFIP and its financial status, summarizes the major challenges facing the program, including issues affecting its long-term financial solvency, presents some alternative approaches for managing and financing the flood losses and describes pending legislation on this issue.
Date: June 22, 2009
Creator: King, Rawle O.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea: Living Resources Provisions

Description: This report describes provisions of the LOS Convention relating to living marine resources and discusses how these provisions comport with current U.S. marine policy. As presently understood and interpreted, these provisions generally appear to reflect current U.S. policy with respect to living marine resource management, conservation, and exploitation.
Date: June 22, 2009
Creator: Buck, Eugene H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea: Living Resources Provisions

Description: The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOS Convention) was agreed to in 1982, but the United States never became a signatory nation. In the 111th Congress, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs on January 13, 2009, acknowledged that U.S. accession to the LOS Convention would be an Obama Administration priority. This report describes provisions of the LOS Convention relating to living marine resources and discusses how these provisions comport with current U.S. marine policy.
Date: June 22, 2009
Creator: Buck, Eugene H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program

Description: The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Act (the "SAFER Act") was enacted by the 108th Congress as part of the FY2004 National Defense Authorization Act. This report describes the SAFER Act in brief and discusses possible budgetary modifications to the SAFER Act that are being considered due to the recent economic downturn.
Date: June 23, 2009
Creator: Kruger, Lennard G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Calculation of Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions for the Renewable Fuel Standard

Description: The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) significantly expanded the renewable fuel standard (RFS) established in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. EISA requires an increasing amount of the 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2022 mandate be met with "advanced biofuels." This report defines the classification "biofuels," discusses the ongoing debate regarding several aspects of biofuels endeavors, and discusses related legislative efforts on climate change policy and low-carbon fuel standards.
Date: June 25, 2009
Creator: Yacobucci, Brent D. & Bracmort, Kelsi S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings

Description: The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is built on a structure conceived in the 1950's when over-the-air broadcasting was the best-available technology for widely disseminating emergency alerts. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), working with the Association of Public Television Stations, is implementing a program that will disseminate national alert messages over digital broadcast airwaves, using satellite and public TV broadcast towers. This program is referred to as the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). Legislation was passed at the end of the 109th Congress to assure funding to public television stations to install digital equipment to handle national alerts. The 111th Congress may pursue additional oversight to related programs that would continue to improve the nation's capability to provide alerts and information before, during, and after an emergency.
Date: June 26, 2009
Creator: Moore, Linda K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Agricultural Disaster Assistance

Description: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers several permanently authorized programs to help farmers recover financially from a natural disaster, including federal crop insurance, the noninsured assistance program (NAP), and emergency disaster loans. The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (otherwise known as the 2008 farm bill) includes authorization and funding for crop disaster programs, livestock assistance programs, and a tree assistance program. The new programs are designed to address the ad hoc nature of disaster assistance provided to producers during the last two decades.
Date: June 29, 2009
Creator: Chite, Ralph M. & Shields, Dennis A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Protecting the U.S. Perimeter: Border Searches Under the Fourth Amendment

Description: This report first outlines the statutes authorizing certain federal officers to conduct warrantless searches. It then addresses the scope of the government's constitutional authority to search and seize persons and property at the border. It also describes the varying levels of suspicion generally required for each type of border search as interpreted by the courts. Finally, this report lists several bills before the 111th Congress that address border searches. This report does not address interior searches and seizures performed by immigration personnel since they are not traditional "border searches."
Date: June 29, 2009
Creator: Kim, Yule
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Technology Innovation Program

Description: The Technology Innovation Program (TIP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was established in 2007 to replace the Advanced Technology Program (ATP). This effort is designed " ... to support, promote, and accelerate innovation in the United States through highrisk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need," according to the authorizing legislation. Grants are provided to small and medium-sized firms for individual projects or joint ventures with other research organizations. The elimination of ATP and the creation of TIP have renewed the debate over the role of the federal government in promoting commercial technology development. This report discusses the opposing sides of this ongoing debate.
Date: June 29, 2009
Creator: Schacht, Wendy H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

North Korea's Second Nuclear Test: Implications of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874

Description: The United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Res. 1874 on June 12, 2009, in response to North Korea's second nuclear test. The resolution puts in place a series of sanctions on North Korea's arms sales, luxury goods, and financial transactions related to its weapons programs, and calls upon states to inspect North Korean vessels suspected of carrying such shipments. This report summarizes and analyzes Res. 1874.
Date: July 1, 2009
Creator: Nikitin, Mary Beth; Manyin, Mark E.; Chanlett-Avery, Emma; Nanto, Dick K. & Niksch, Larry A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Iran Sanctions

Description: Iran is subject to a wide range of U.S. sanctions, restricting trade with, investment, and U.S. foreign aid to Iran, and requiring the United States to vote against international lending to Iran. A formal U.S. effort to curb international energy investment in Iran began in 1996 with the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA). ISA was first passed at a time of tightening U.S. sanctions on Iran. Most notable was a 1995 ban on U.S. trade with and investment in Iran. That ban has since been modified slightly to allow for some bilateral trade in luxury and humanitarian-related goods. In the 110th Congress, two bills passed the House (H.R. 1400 and H.R. 7112) that would add several ISA provisions.
Date: July 9, 2009
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Tax Havens: International Tax Avoidance and Evasion

Description: The federal government loses both individual and corporate income tax revenue from the shifting of profits and income into low-tax countries, often referred to as tax havens. The revenue losses from this tax avoidance and evasion are difficult to estimate, but some have suggested that the annual cost of offshore tax abuses may be around $100 billion per year. Recent actions by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the G-20 industrialized nations have targeted tax haven countries, focusing primarily on evasion issues. There are also a number of legislative proposals that address these issues including the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act (S. 506, H.R. 1265); draft proposals by the Senate Finance Committee; two other related bills, S. 386 and S. 569; and a proposal by President Obama. This report discusses this issue in detail.
Date: July 9, 2009
Creator: Gravelle, Jane G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN)

Description: Congress has passed legislation to facilitate the reemployment of workers who through no fault of their own are let go by their employers. Among these laws is the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, P.L. 100-379, enacted in 1988. This report discusses the WARN Act in brief, especially as related to Congress's renewed interest in the Act due to the current financial crises and recession.
Date: July 9, 2009
Creator: Levine, Linda
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Background, Legislation, and Funding

Description: This report discusses the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, which was created by Title I of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-322). The mission of the COPS program is to advance community policing in all jurisdictions across the United States. Several bills introduced in the 111th Congress would either modify the COPS program, reauthorize appropriations for the program, or both.
Date: July 14, 2009
Creator: James, Nathan
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Current Legislative Issues

Description: The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program was created by Title I of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-322). The mission of the COPS program is to advance community policing in all jurisdictions across the United States. Legislation introduced in the 111th Congress would reauthorize the COPS program through FY2014 and reestablish COPS as a multi-grant program. This report provides an overview and analysis of issues Congress might choose to consider when taking up legislation to reauthorize the COPS program.
Date: July 14, 2009
Creator: James, Nathan
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

International Criminal Court Cases in Africa: Status and Policy Issues

Description: This report provides background on current International Criminal Court (ICC) cases and examines issues raised by the ICC's actions in Africa, including the potential deterrence of future abuses and the potential impact on African peace processes.
Date: July 14, 2009
Creator: Arieff, Alexis; Margesson, Rhoda & Browne, Marjorie Ann
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.S. Immigration Policy on Permanent Admissions

Description: This report discusses the four major principles underlie current U.S. policy on permanent immigration: the reunification of families, the admission of immigrants with needed skills, the protection of refugees, and the diversity of admissions by country of origin.
Date: July 20, 2009
Creator: Wasem, Ruth Ellen
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer

Description: This report discusses section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA), the specific requirements of which must be met in order for the United States to engage in civilian nuclear cooperation with other states. The AEA also provides for exemptions to these requirements, export control licensing procedures, and criteria for terminating cooperation.
Date: July 21, 2009
Creator: Kerr, Paul K. & Nikitin, Mary Beth
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Issues Regarding a National Land Parcel Database

Description: This report provides a summary of some of the issues regarding the creation of a national land parcel database, or cadastre. The report identifies some of the perceived needs for a national cadastre, legislative and administrative options that could lead to a national land parcel database, and some of the challenges and concerns. The report also summarizes and briefly discusses recommendations in a 2007 National Research Council (NRC) report that concluded "...a national approach is necessary to provide a rational and accountable system of property records."
Date: July 22, 2009
Creator: Folger, Peter
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Issues Regarding a National Land Parcel Database

Description: This report provides a summary of some of the issues regarding the creation of a national land parcel database, or cadastre. The report identifies some of the perceived needs for a national cadastre, legislative and administrative options that could lead to a national land parcel database, and some of the challenges and concerns.
Date: July 22, 2009
Creator: Folger, Peter
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Greenhouse Gas Legislation: Summary and Analysis of H.R. 2454 as Passed by the House of Representatives

Description: This report offers an introduction and overview of legislation regarding greenhouse gases. It also discusses combined efficiency and renewable electricity standard, geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide, vehicles and fuels, smart grid, energy efficiency, and major cap-and-trade provisions.
Date: July 27, 2009
Creator: Holt, Mark & Whitney, Gene
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Greenhouse Gas Legislation: Summary and Analysis of H.R. 2454 as Passed by the House of Representatives

Description: H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, contains provisions that would amend the Clean Air Act to establish a cap-and-trade system designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from covered sources 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83% below 2005 levels by 2050. Following an overview, this report contains a section-by-section summary of H.R. 2454 as passed by the House, and interpretive or informative commentary for some sections, when appropriate.
Date: July 27, 2009
Creator: Holt, Mark & Whitney, Gene
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Private Health Insurance Provisions of H.R. 3200

Description: This report provides a short background describing key aspects of the private insurance market as it exists currently. This information is useful in setting the stage for understanding how and where H.R. 3200 would reform health insurance. Primarily, however, the report summarizes provisions affecting private health insurance in Division A (or Division 1) H.R. 3200, as ordered reported by the House Committees on Education and Labor and on Ways and Means.
Date: July 27, 2009
Creator: Chaikind, Hinda; Fernandez, Bernadette; Peterson, Chris L. & Morgan, Paulette C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department