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Category Archives: Legislation

Conflict Minerals and Resource Extraction: Dodd-Frank, SEC Regulations, and Legal Challenges

Conflict Minerals and Resource Extraction: Dodd-Frank, SEC Regulations, and Legal Challenges. Michael V. Seitzinger, Legislative Attorney; Kathleen Ann Ruane, Legislative Attorney. October 15, 2014.

“Two sections of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) require that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) issue regulations to make public the involvement of U.S. companies in conflict minerals and in resource extraction payments. Supporters of the Dodd-Frank conflict minerals statute and the SEC implementing rule believe that such disclosures could have an impact on the amount of violence involved with the mining of conflict minerals. Opponents of the statute and rule argue that they require disclosures that are arbitrary and capricious and that some of the required disclosures violate the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech. Supporters of the resource extraction statute and the SEC implementing rule believe that they are needed to achieve the goal of the transparency of payments made by resource extraction issuers to governments in order to foster reform and anti-corruption and to improve the tax collection process. Opponents believe that they are arbitrary and capricious and violate the First Amendment. Legal challenges to the statutes and regulations have occurred, based primarily on administrative law and First Amendment grounds.”

Cybercrime: An Overview of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Statute and Related Federal Criminal Laws

CRS – Cybercrime: An Overview of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Statute and Related Federal Criminal Laws. Charles Doyle, Senior Specialist in American Public Law. October 15, 2014. “The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. 1030, outlaws conduct that victimizes  computer systems. It is a cyber security law. It protects federal computers, bank computers, and computersContinue Reading

CRS – Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA): Resources for Frequently Asked Questions, Angela Napili, Information Research Specialist, October 10, 2014. “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA; P.L. 111-148, as amended) has numerous provisions affecting private health insurance and public health coverage programs. Many of these provisions take effect in 2014. This report provides resources to help congressionalContinue Reading

Al Qaeda-Affiliated Groups: Middle East and Africa

CRS: Al Qaeda-Affiliated Groups: Middle East and Africa, October 10, 2014. “After more than a decade of combating Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the United States now faces an increasingly diverse threat from Al Qaeda affiliates in the Middle East and Africa and from emerging groups that have adopted aspects of Al Qaeda’s ideologyContinue Reading

Common Core State Standards: Frequently Asked Questions

CRS Report – Common Core State Standards: Frequently Asked Questions. Rebecca R. Skinner, Specialist in Education Policy; Jody Feder, Legislative Attorney. September 15, 2014. “Over the last two decades, there has been interest in developing federal policies that focus on  student outcomes in elementary and secondary education. Perhaps most prominently, the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001Continue Reading

Twitter – Taking the fight for #transparency to court

Twitter news release: ” As part of our latest transparency report released in July, wedescribed how we were being prohibited from reporting on the actual scope of surveillance of Twitter users by the U.S. government. Our ability to speak has been restricted by laws that prohibit and even criminalize a service provider like us from disclosingContinue Reading

Temporary Professional, Managerial, and Skilled Foreign Workers: Legislation in the 113th Congress

CRS – Temporary Professional, Managerial, and Skilled Foreign Workers: Legislation in the 113th Congress. Ruth Ellen Wasem, Specialist in Immigration Policy. September 30, 2014 “The admission of professional, managerial, and skilled foreign workers raises a complex set of policy issues as the United States competes internationally for the most talented workers in the world, without adversely effecting U.S. workersContinue Reading

Legislative Research for Congressional Staff: How to Find Documents and Other Resources

CRS – Legislative Research for Congressional Staff: How to Find Documents and Other Resources. Ada S. Cornell, Information Research Specialist. Michael Greene, Information Research Specialist; Laura A. Hanson, Information Research Specialist. September 25, 2014. “During the legislative process, many documents are prepared by Congress and its committees. Governmental and non-governmental entities track and record congressional activities, and many more entities chronicle and analyzeContinue Reading

Minimum efficiency standards for electric motors will soon increase

“Nearly half of the electricity consumed in the manufacturing sector is used for powering motors, such as for fans, pumps, conveyors, and compressors. About two thirds of this machine-drive consumption occurs in the bulk chemicals, food, petroleum and coal products, primary metals, and paper industries. For more than three decades the efficiency of new motors has been regulated byContinue Reading

Congress.gov: Removing the Beta Label and New Enhancements

Via Emily Carr – Andrew Weber‘s news: The Library of Congress launched Congress.gov in beta two years ago.  Today, I’m happy to announce we officially removed the beta label. That’s roughly three years quicker than Gmail took to remove its beta label, but we won’t give you the option of putting it back on Congress.gov.  URLs thatContinue Reading

Systemically Important or “Too Big to Fail” Financial Institutions

CRS – Systemically Important or “Too Big to Fail” Financial Institutions. Marc Labonte, Specialist in Macroeconomic Policy. September 19, 2014. “Although “too big to fail” (TBTF) has been a perennial policy issue, it was highlighted by the near-collapse of several large financial firms in 2008. Financial firms are said to be TBTF when policy makers judge that their failure wouldContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Prisons, CFPB, ID Theft, Oil and Gas Transportation, Affordable Care Act

ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS: The Corps Needs to Take Steps to Identify All Projects and Studies Eligible for Deauthorization, GAO-14-699: Published: Aug 21, 2014. Publicly Released: Sep 22, 2014. BUREAU OF PRISONS: Management of New Prison Activations Can Be Improved, GAO-14-709: Published: Aug 22, 2014. Publicly Released: Sep 22, 2014. CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU:Some Privacy and Security Procedures for Data CollectionsContinue Reading