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Category Archives: Legislation

Why Two Decades of Pandemic Planning Failed

Medium – The Cicero Institute: “At the commencement of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, the United States government flailed and then failed in its attempt to respond to the crisis. Americans couldn’t help but ask why the government didn’t have a plan for this situation, a situation that was not only predictable, but which many scientists and public officials had predicted numerous times.¹ The truth is the government had a plan. Most commentators forgot that just six months before the current outbreak, Congress passed the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2019, which offered funds and planning authority for just such a crisis as we now face.² This act was a reauthorization and an extension of half a dozen similar acts passed over the previous two decades, which acts were themselves extended in countless congressional spending bills, all of which resulted in countless plans. By the time the virus broke on American shores, the problem was not that the United States didn’t have a single plan for an international pandemic. The problem was it had dozens of plans, totaling thousands of pages, issued by different agencies and by different administrations, apparently with little thought to how they would be combined or who would implement them. In the process of mandating all of these plans, the government had also created an array of competing and often contradictory authorities in different bureaucracies, which often worked at cross-purposes.

The failure of the United States government to respond to the coronavirus was not a failure of foresight. It was a failure to create a coherent strategy and to provide clear lines of authority to implement it. To prepare for the next pandemic, we need to end our current proliferation of planning mandates and overlapping agency authorities (such as that of the Assistant Secretary for Response and Preparedness), strengthen the pandemic response ability of one agency (preferably the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and reform our current National Emergency Act to allow clear delegation of emergency power. Only by examining our current failures and rectifying them, most importantly, by combining authority, responsibility, and accountability in the right hands, can we make sure that our next Pandemic Preparedness Act is not an embarrassment to its name…”

Federal Regulators Increase Focus on Patient Risks From Electronic Health Records

Pew -“As part of a federal program to routinely publish data on the capabilities of electronic health record (EHR) systems, the government recently finalized a component that will help collect information from doctors, nurses, and other clinicians about the effects of these technologies on patient safety. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information… Continue Reading

Bills, Resolutions, Nominations,and Treaties: Characteristics and Examples of Use

CRS report via LC: Bills, Resolutions, Nominations,and Treaties: Characteristics and Examples of Use – November 16, 2020. “In each chamber of Congress, four forms of legislative measures may be introduced (or, in the case of resolutions, submitted) and acted on: bills, joint resolutions, concurrent resolutions, and resolutions of one house (“simple resolutions”). In addition, under… Continue Reading

Presidential Transition Act: Provisions and Funding

CRS report via LC – Presidential Transition Act: Provisions and Funding, November 13, 2020: “The Presidential Transition Act of 1963 (PTA) authorizes funding for the General Services Administration (GSA) to provide suitable office space, staff compensation, and other services associated with the presidential transition process (3 U.S.C. §102 note). The act has since been amended… Continue Reading

Biden-Harris agency review teams

Biden-Harris Transition: “Agency review teams are responsible for understanding the operations of each agency, ensuring a smooth transfer of power, and preparing for President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris and their cabinet to hit the ground running on Day One. These teams are composed of highly experienced and talented professionals with deep backgrounds in crucial… Continue Reading

The Degradation of American Democracy And the Court

134 Harv. L. Rev. 1 Volume 134, November 10 2020 –  The Supreme Court Term 2019 – The Degradation of American Democracy — And the Court – Foreword by Michael J. Klarman. “On June 25, 2013, the Supreme Court invalidated the geographic coverage formula of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, effectively abrogating the preclearance requirement… Continue Reading

Student Loan Bill Tracking Database

National Conference of State Legislatures – This interactive database tracks state legislation related to student loan debt across several categories, including forgiveness, licensure, oversight and taxes. It includes pending, failed and enacted bills since 2015. The database can be searched by category, year or state. The database is updated monthly with bills identified by NCSL staff…” Continue Reading

Biden may have trouble unearthing Trump’s national security secrets

Politico: “From tearing up documents and hiding transcripts of calls with foreign leaders to using encrypted messaging apps and personal email accounts for government business, the Trump White House’s skirting of records preservation rules could limit the incoming Biden administration’s visibility into highly sensitive foreign policy and national security secrets….The Presidential Records Act, which requires… Continue Reading

Cyberlaw Clinic and EFF publish Guide to Legal Risks of Security Research

Cyberlaw Clinic: “We are excited to announce the release of A Researcher’s Guide to Some Legal Risks of Security Research (pdf), a report authored by Sunoo Park and Kendra Albert, and co-published by the Cyberlaw Clinic and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Just last month, over 75 prominent security researchers signed a letter urging the… Continue Reading

Congressional Oversight Commission Publishes Sixth Report

“The members of the bipartisan Congressional Oversight Commission have published their sixth report.  It is available for review here. The Congressional Oversight Commission is a five-person panel that was established by the CARES Act. The Commission is focused specifically on the economic stabilization efforts of the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve. The members of… Continue Reading

Reading the ACA’s Findings: Textualism, Severability and the ACA’s Return to the Court

Gluck, Abbe R – Reading the ACA’s Findings: Textualism, Severability and the ACA’s Return to the Court, 130 Yale L.J. F. 132 (2020). The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is back in the Court, but challengers’ “textualist” arguments are not textualist at all. They argue a findings section in the ACA is an “inseverability clause,” meaning… Continue Reading

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, October 18, 2020

Via LLRX – Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, October 18, 2020 – Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly… Continue Reading