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Category Archives: Legislation

The Supreme Court case that could gut America’s gun laws, explained

Vox: “For nearly all its history, the Supreme Court kept its distance from gun policy. Now it’s about to decide a case that could radically reduce the government’s power to regulate guns. The Second Amendment states explicitly that it exists to protect “a well regulated Militia,” and until fairly recently, the Court took these four words very seriously. As a unanimous Court explained in United States v. Miller (1939), the “obvious purpose” of the Second Amendment was to “render possible the effectiveness” of militias, and the amendment must be “interpreted and applied with that end in view.” Because the kinds of militias that concerned the framers in the 1790s are now an anachronism, Miller’s approach gave states broad authority to regulate guns. That all changed with the Court’s 5-4 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), which held for the first time in American history that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own a gun for personal “self-defense.” And yet Heller was only a partial victory for the gun lobby. The Court’s opinion is thick with language explaining that “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited,” and it even enumerates several very important limits on gun rights. As conservative Justice Samuel Alito complained in a 2020 opinion, this has meant that lower courts “have decided numerous cases involving Second Amendment challenges to a variety of federal, state, and local laws,” and that “most have failed.” In other words, the constitutional right to own a gun is both stronger now than it was at any point in the first 217 years of the Second Amendment’s history, and weak enough that state and local governments can prevent most Americans from carrying a gun on city streets and in other heavily populated areas…”

A whistleblower’s power: Key takeaways from the Facebook Papers

Follow-up to previous posting – Whistleblower: Facebook is misleading the public on progress against hate speech, violence, misinformation – See Also the Washington Post – “Interviews with dozens of current and former employees and a trove of internal documents show how the social media company inflamed real-world harms.A trove of internal Facebook documents reveals that the… Continue Reading

Report – Plastics To Outpace Coal In Driving Climate Change

Beyond Plastics – Plastics are the New Coal: “Plastics are on track to contribute more climate change emissions than coal plants by 2030, a new report finds. As fossil fuel companies seek to recoup falling profits, they are increasing plastics production and cancelling out greenhouse gas reductions gained from the recent closures of 65 percent… Continue Reading

Controlled Digital Lending: Unlocking the Library’s Full Potential

Kyle K. Courtney / Library Futures: “We are very excited today to announce the release of the Library Futures Foundation’s (LFF) new policy document “Controlled Digital Lending: Unlocking the Library’s Full Potential.” As outlined, controlled digital lending maximizes a library’s ability to loan works, thereby making the entire loaning system more efficient and equitable.  Library… Continue Reading

Understanding Federal Legislation: A Section-by-Section Guide to Key Legal Considerations

CRS Report – Understanding Federal Legislation: A Section-by-Section Guide to Key Legal Considerations, September 27, 2021 [91 pages]: “Federal bills are increasingly complex, making them difficult to understand for the average reader and the seasoned practitioner alike. What a congressional drafter understands to be the import of a given provision could later be discussed and… Continue Reading

GPO and Law Library of Congress Make Volumes of Nation’s Most Treasured Publications Digitally Available

“The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO), in collaboration with the Law Library of Congress, has digitized and made available volumes of the United States Congressional Serial Set on GPO’s govinfo, the one-stop shop to information published by the Federal Government. The release comes as part of a large decade-long partnership to digitize more than 15,000… Continue Reading

Harms of AI

NBER – Harms of AI, Daron Acemoglu, Working Paper 29247 DOI 10.3386/w29247 Issue Date September 2021. “This essay discusses several potential economic, political and social costs of the current path of AI technologies. I argue that if AI continues to be deployed along its current trajectory and remains unregulated, it may produce various social, economic… Continue Reading

Republicans seek Pennsylvania voters’ personal information as they try to review the 2020 results

The New York Times: “Pennsylvania Republicans moved on Wednesday to seek personal information on every voter in the state as part of a brewing partisan review of the 2020 election results, rubber-stamping more than a dozen subpoenas for driver’s license numbers and partial Social Security numbers. The expansive request for personal information, directed at Pennsylvania’s… Continue Reading

Recent Steps Toward Improved Access to Federal Legislation

Information Today – Barbie E. Keiser – “During recent virtual meetings, representatives of several government entities showed how they had used the time during the pandemic to increase the public’s access to legislative information. The real takeaway from each online meeting is the degree to which these entities collaborate on projects. The Library of Congress… Continue Reading

Climate Change and U.S. Financial Regulators: Overview and Recent Actions

CRS Insight – Climate Change and U.S. Financial Regulators: Overview and Recent Actions, Updated August 26, 2021: “Under the Biden Administration,financial regulators have announced a range of new measures to address financial risks associated with climate change. The Department of the Treasury, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Federal Reserve have each announced… Continue Reading

Congress.gov August 2021 New, Tip, and Top

In Custodia Legis: “At the end of July, Andrew shared the enhancements from the last Congress.gov release, which included adding Key Word In Context (KWIC) search results for the Bound Congressional Record and new customization options for bill alerts. With this month’s release, a link to the treaty errata tab from the overview section on… Continue Reading

Senators unveil full text of bipartisan infrastructure bill

CBS: “Senators on Sunday unveiled the legislative text of the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill during a rare weekend session as lawmakers rush to begin the amendment process ahead of an expected vote on final passage by the end of the week. The bipartisan group of senators that negotiated the deal released the legislative language… Continue Reading