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Association Health Plans, Health Marts and the Small Group Market for Health Insurance

Description: An estimated 41.2 million people were without health insurance in 2001. Legislation under consideration by the 108th and earlier Congresses is intended to assist small employers in offering health insurance as a benefit to their workers. A new bill, H.R. 4281, introduced on May 5, 2004, The Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2003 (H.R. 6601s. 545), and a number of bills from the earlier Congresses include provisions creating new groups for small firms to join or encouraging the growth of existing groups so that small employers can band together to offer coverage to their employees.
Date: June 5, 2003
Creator: Hearne, Jean P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendment

Description: This report is divided into two parts. The first gives a brief history of the flag protection issue, from the enactment of the Flag Protection Act in 1968 through current consideration of a constitutional amendment. The second part briefly summarizes the two decisions of the United States Supreme Court, Texas v. Johnson and United States v. Eichman, that struck down the state and federal flag protection statutes as applied in the context punishing expressive conduct.
Date: June 4, 2003
Creator: Luckey, John R.
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: June 2, 2003
Creator: McCarthy, James E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Electronic Banking: The Check Truncation Issue

Description: If all checks were replaced by electronic transactions, the exact cost savings would still be unknown, because estimates of the cost of using a check and the number of checks written each year remain in dispute. Consequently, estimates of cost savings range from $1.4 billion annually for truncation alone to $68 billion for replacing checks with electronic payments. A significant part of the savings comes from eliminating the handling, sorting, and physically transporting of checks to the paying bank. To clear checks electronically, banks must negotiate processing agreements thatmake it unnecessary to physically present the paper check. Since the benefits are not uniformly dispersed among the participants, banks have found it difficult to obtain these agreements, thus constraining the widespread adoption of electronic check clearing.
Date: May 30, 2003
Creator: Eubanks, Walter W
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Endangered Species Act (ESA), Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), and Department of Defense (DOD) Readiness Activities: Current Law and Legislative Proposals

Description: This report provides a brief overview of how the Endangered Species Act (ESA)1 and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA)2 and their relevant regulations may apply to military training and readiness activities of the Department of Defense (DOD). Military activities may “take” protected creatures directly (e.g,. killing with ordnance during rifle, gunnery or assault drills), or might destroy habitat (e.g., artillery or bombing practices), even if these results are not the purpose of the activities. The applicability of the MBTA and ESA to military readiness activities has been controversial recently and legislation has been enacted in both the 107th and 108th Congresses on these topics.
Date: May 30, 2003
Creator: Baldwin, Pamela
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: May 30, 2003
Creator: Bamberger, Robert L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Environmental Streamlining Provisions in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century: Status of Implementation

Description: At the state and local level, many observers have expressed long-standing concerns over delays, duplication of effort, and additional costs frequently associated with the environmental review process for highway projects that must be completed under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA, P.L. 91-190). To address these concerns, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA21, P.L. 105-178), enacted in 1998, requires the Federal Highway Administration(FHWA) to streamline the environmental review process for highway projects.
Date: May 30, 2003
Creator: Luther, Linda G. & Bearden, David M.
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: May 27, 2003
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA): Reauthorization of Title I Job Training Programs

Description: Title I of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) (P.L. 105-220), the country’s chief job training legislation, authorizes several job training programs, including Youth, Adult, and Dislocated Worker Activities; Job Corps; Youth Opportunity Grants; and programs for Native Americans, migrant and seasonal farmworkers, and veterans. The funding authorization for WIA programs expires on September 30,2003. On May 8, 2003, the House passed H.R. 1261, the Workforce Reinvestment and Adult Education Act of 2003. In addition to reauthorizing the Title I job training programs, the bill would also reauthorize the adult education and literacy programs and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This report focuses on provisions related to the Title I programs.
Date: May 27, 2003
Creator: Lordeman, Ann
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: May 23, 2003
Creator: Richards, Don C.
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: May 22, 2003
Creator: Reisch, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Education Vouchers: Constitutional Issues and Cases

Description: This report details the constitutional standards that currently apply to indirect school aid programs and summarizes all of the pertinent Supreme Court decisions, with particular attention to Zelman. It also summarizes the pending case of Davey v. Locke and other recent and ongoing state and lower federal court cases concerning vouchers.
Date: May 20, 2003
Creator: Ackerman, David M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department