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Campaign Finance Bills in the 106th Congress: Comparison of Shays-Meehan, as passed, with McCain-Feingold, as considered

Description: On September 14, 1999, the House passed the Shays-Meehan bill--H.R. 417, the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 1999, as amended, by a vote of 252-177. Senate sponsors of the companion measure, S. 26 (McCain-Feingold), revised their proposal and, on September 16, introduced S. 1593, containing just four sections of H.R. 417 and S. 26. The Senate debated S. 1593 from October 13-20, culminating in unsuccessful cloture votes October 19 on two amendments: Daschle amendment 2298, substituting text nearly identical to the House-passed H.R. 417; and Reid amendment 2229 (a perfecting amendment to no. 2298), substituting text of S. 1593 as offered, plus McCain amendment 2294 (adopted October 14), which added certain disclosure requirements. This report compares provisions of the House-passed bill with the one considered by the Senate in October 1999. No further updates are planned.
Date: January 12, 2000
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campaign Finance Debate in the 106th Congress: Comparison of Measures Under House Consideration

Description: On September 14, the House passed H.R. 417 on a vote of 252-177, as amended by three perfecting amendments: Bereuter/Wicker #6; Faleomavaega #1; and Sweeney #21. This report features two tables. Table 1 summarizes and compares the ten perfecting amendments, current law, and the Shays-Meehan proposal. Table 2 summarizes and compares current law, the Shays-Meehan bill, and the three substitute amendments.
Date: January 12, 2000
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

EPA's Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Program: Highlights of Proposed Changes and Impacts on Agriculture

Description: In August 1999 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed regulations to clarify and strengthen the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program under section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act. Section 303(d) requires states to identify surface waters for which wastewater discharge limits are not stringent enough to achieve water quality standards and to allocate further required pollutant reductions among sources in order to attain those standards. This report discusses the major changes in EPA's proposals, compared with existing regulatory program requirements, and potential impacts on agriculture and forestry sources, which have been controversial.
Date: February 3, 2000
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Description: Soft money is a major issue in the campaign finance reform debate because these generally unregulated funds are perceived as resulting from a loophole in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Generally, soft money is funds that are raised and spent according to applicable state laws, which FECA prohibits from being spent directly on federal elections, but that may have an indirect influence on federal elections. This Issue Brief discusses three major types of soft money: political party soft money, corporate and labor union soft money, and soft money used for issue advocacy communications.
Date: February 4, 2000
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

American Inventors Protection Act of 1999

Description: After several years of consideration, on Friday, November 19, 1999, Congress gave final approval to a bill which makes major changes to the patent laws. On this day the Senate passed the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999 as part of the Intellectual Property and Communications Omnibus Reform Act of 1999, attached by reference to the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2000. This report summarizes major provisions of the patent reform bill.
Date: February 28, 2000
Creator: Seitzinger, Michael V.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campaign Financing: Highlights and Chronology of Current Federal Law

Description: Current law governing financial activity of campaigns for federal office is based on two principal statutes: the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) of 1971, as amended in 1974, 1976, and 1979, and the Revenue Act of 1971. These laws were enacted to remedy widely perceived shortcomings of existing law, the Corrupt Practices Act of 1925, and in response to reports of campaign finance abuses over the years, culminating in the 1972-1974 Watergate scandal. This report provides a summary of major provisions of federal law and a chronology of key legislative and judicial actions.
Date: March 8, 2000
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Electricity Restructuring and the Constitutionality of Retail Reciprocity Requirements

Description: Retail reciprocity requirements have been included in the electricity restructuring legislation of at least four states. These requirements mandate generally that out-of-state utilities which operate in a state “closed” to retail competition cannot market power to retail consumers in the “open” state. Because state reciprocity requirements enacted without congressional authorization are probably unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Congress would have to include a reciprocity provision in federal electricity restructuring legislation if it wants to support the view that such a provision will increase competition. This report reviews the treatment of state reciprocity requirements by the U.S. Supreme Court and discusses Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause.
Date: March 9, 2000
Creator: Shimabukuro, Jon O.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Coastal Zone Management Reauthorization: An Overview

Description: Congress is considering legislation that would reauthorize the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972. This overview summarizes the programs created by this act and its amendments, and outlines issues associated with reauthorization. These issues include reauthorizing funding, altering grant programs, changing the National Estuarine Research Reserve system, funding to implement nonpoint water pollution requirements, protecting private property rights, expanding program evaluation efforts, and examining effects of personal water craft on the coastal requirement. A reauthorization bill has been reported by the House Resources Committee (H.R. 2669, H. Rept. 106-485), and floor action is anticipated soon. In the Senate, no action has been taken.
Date: March 14, 2000
Creator: Zinn, Jeffrey A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Economic Sanctions and U.S. Agricultural Exports

Description: Various statutes and regulations authorize the President to restrict or prohibit trade with targeted countries for national security or foreign policy reasons. The exercise of these authorities has resulted in restrictions or prohibitions at times being placed on the export of U.S. agricultural commodities and products. The U.S. government currently restricts exports of agricultural products as part of across-the-board economic sanctions imposed on Cuba and Iraq. Exceptions are made for humanitarian reasons, allowing food to be sold or donated to these two countries.
Date: March 20, 2000
Creator: Jurenas, Remy
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Asbestos Compensation Act of 2000

Description: This report summarizes H.R. 1283, 106th Congress, the Asbestos Compensation Act of 2000, as ordered to be reported with amendments by the House Committee on the Judiciary on March 16, 2000. The bill would create an administrative procedure for asbestos liability claims.
Date: April 13, 2000
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Conservation Reserve Payments and Self-Employment Taxes

Description: Farmers enrolling their land in the Department of Agriculture's Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) receive payments for refraining from farming their property and for engaging in certain conservation practices mandated by the Department of Agriculture. These payments are described in the contract with the Department of Agriculture as "rental payments." Farmers would like to treat the income as "rental income" because it would not be subject to self-employment taxes, but the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) insists that under certain conditions, the payments are income from the trade or business of farming and thus subject to self-employment taxes.
Date: May 1, 2000
Creator: Morris, Marie B
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fact Sheet on Congressional Tax Proposals

Description: A general tax cut (H.R. 2488), costing $792 billion over 10 years, was vetoed in September 1999. A more narrowly focused bill (H.R. 1180) extending certain expiring provisions was adopted in December. Several tax proposals have been or are likely to be considered in 2000. The largest of these was marriage penalty legislation (H.R. 6 and S. 2346). Tax provisions are also included in health care legislation and minimum wage legislation; the latter passed the House on March 9 and included distressed communities legislation and a repeal of the installment sales provision included in the extenders bill. A number of separate tax bills are also under consideration. The general tax cut proposal included across-the-board tax cuts, benefits for married couples, phase-out of the alternative minimum tax, a reduction in capital gains taxes, a phase-out of the estate tax and provisions relating to education and health.
Date: May 25, 2000
Creator: Gravelle, Jane G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

China's Accession to the World Trade Organization: Legal Issues

Description: The People's Republic of China (PRC) applied to resume membership in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1986 and continues to negotiate its accession to GATT's successor, the World Trade Organization (WTO). A country may join the WTO on terms agreed by the applicant and WTO Members if two-thirds of Members approve the country's accession agreement. A Member may "opt out" of WTO relations with another country by invoking Article XIII of the WTO Agreement, its "non-application" clause. The United States and the PRC agreed to bilateral terms for the PRC's accession in November 1999.
Date: June 2, 2000
Creator: Grimmett, Jeanne J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

527 Organizations: How the Differences in Tax and Election Laws Permit Certain Organizations to Engage in Issue Advocacy without Public Disclosure and Proposals for Change

Description: This report compares the tax and election laws relating to political organizations and political committees in an attempt to highlight the differences between them, and discusses some of the proposals in the 106th Congress to require additional reporting by organizations engaging in political activities. This report does not address the taxation of other tax-exempt organizations making political expenditures taxable under IRC § 527. The report will be updated as new proposals are reported.
Date: June 26, 2000
Creator: Morris, Marie B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Civil Service Retirement Bills in the 106th Congress

Description: Among the civil service retirement issues addressed in bills introduced thus far in the 106th Congress are the correction of retirement coverage errors for federal employees assigned to the wrong retirement system; immediate eligibility for federal employees to participate in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP); improved portability of pension benefits; and repeal of the temporary increase in employee retirement contributions that was mandated by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. Other bills would expand TSP eligibility to include members of the armed services; improve pension coverage for temporary and part-time federal employees; and designate several categories of federal employees as law enforcement officers for purposes of determining their retirement benefits.
Date: June 28, 2000
Creator: Purcell, Patrick J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department