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A Brief Explanation of Federal Administrative Law

March 27, 2015 Comments off

A Brief Explanation of Federal Administrative Law
Source: Law Librarians’ Society of Washington, D.C.
From email:

The Legislative Research Special Interest Section of the Law Librarians’ Society of Washington, D.C., Inc. (llsdc.org) is pleased to announce the availability of a new website entitled “Federal Administrative Law: A Brief Overview” (http://www.llsdc.org/federal-administrative-law-a-brief-overview). The site, which had been available only in PDF, has been substantially revised and its subheadings, each with numerous links, include the following:

1) A Brief Explanation of Federal Administrative Law,
2) Current Major Federal Government Regulatory Agencies,
3) General Federal Agency Directories,
4) Major Federal Administrative and Rulemaking Laws,
5) Some Other Federal Administrative Laws,
6) Types of Agency Rules and Notices Published in the Federal Register,
7) Federal Rules, Non-Rules and Other Terminology
8) Researching Federal Agency Orders, Decisions, Interpretations, and Letters
9) Selected Administrative Law Treatises
10) Selected Supreme Court Opinions on Federal Administrative Law
11) Selected Web Sites on Federal Administrative Law

The new website is part of LLSDC’s Legislative Source Book website (http://www.llsdc.org/sourcebook) where it is linked.

IRS Tax Delinquency Report Shows Federal Employees Owe $1 Billion

March 27, 2015 Comments off

IRS Tax Delinquency Report Shows Federal Employees Owe $1 Billion
Source: U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today released its 2014 tax delinquency report, which identifies the total number of federal civilian employees who are tax-delinquent and the total amount owed in past-due taxes. Tomorrow, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (UT-03) will hold a mark-up to examine eight bills including the Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2015 [H.R. 1563], which was introduced in the House this week.

CBO — Legislation Enacted in the 113th Congress That Will Affect Mandatory Spending or Revenues

March 27, 2015 Comments off

Legislation Enacted in the 113th Congress That Will Affect Mandatory Spending or Revenues
Source: Congressional Budget Office

This report summarizes the Congressional Budget Office’s estimates of the budgetary effects of laws enacted in the 113th Congress that will affect mandatory spending or revenues. Those laws were enacted in calendar years 2013 and 2014.

Table 1 includes legislation that was enacted in the first session of that Congress and shows CBO’s estimates of budgetary effects for fiscal years 2013 through 2023. According to CBO’s estimates, those laws will increase budget deficits in fiscal years 2013 through 2016 and will decrease deficits in fiscal years 2017 through 2023. All told, CBO estimated that those laws will reduce federal budget deficits by about $76 billion over the 2013-2023 period.

Table 2 includes legislation enacted in the second session and, in most cases, shows the agency’s estimates for fiscal years 2014 through 2024. According to CBO’s estimates, those laws will increase budget deficits in fiscal years 2014, 2015, and 2023, and will decrease deficits in all of the other years through 2024. In total, CBO estimated that those laws will add about $24 billion to budget deficits over the 2014–2024 period (excluding any 2024 effects from one law for which CBO’s estimate did not encompass that year).

DOJ OIG — The Handling of Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Allegations by the Department’s Law Enforcement Components

March 27, 2015 Comments off

The Handling of Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Allegations by the Department’s Law Enforcement Components (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General
From Executive Summary (PDF):

\The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) conducted this review to assess how the Department of Justice’s (Department) four law enforcement components respond to sexual misconduct and harassment allegations made against their employees. This review examined the nature, frequency, reporting, investigation, and adjudication of such allegations in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and the United States Marshals Service (USMS).

The OIG’s ability to conduct this review was significantly impacted and delayed by the repeated difficulties we had in obtaining relevant information from both the FBI and DEA as we were initiating this review in mid-2013.1 Initially, the FBI and DEA refused to provide the OIG with unredacted information that was responsive to our requests, citing the Privacy Act of 1974 and concerns for victims and witnesses as the reasons for the extensive redactions, despite the fact that the OIG is authorized under the Inspector General Act to receive such information.2

After months of protracted discussions with management at both agencies, the DEA and FBI provided the information without extensive redactions; but we found that the information was still incomplete. Ultimately, based on a review of information in the OIG Investigations Division databases, we determined that a material number of allegations from both DEA and FBI were not included in the original responses to our request for the information.

We were also concerned by an apparent decision by DEA to withhold information regarding a particular open misconduct case. The OIG was not given access to this case file information until several months after our request, and only after the misconduct case was closed. Once we became aware of the information, we interviewed DEA employees who said that they were given the impression that they were not to discuss this case with the OIG while the case remained open. The OIG was entitled to receive all such information from the outset, and the failure to provide it unnecessarily delayed our work.

Therefore, we cannot be completely confident that the FBI and DEA provided us with all information relevant to this review. As a result, our report reflects the findings and conclusions we reached based on the information made available to us.

How Local and State Governments Can Rev Up Business Creation

March 27, 2015 Comments off

How Local and State Governments Can Rev Up Business Creation
Source: Kauffman Foundation

The paper recommends that state and local governments adopt several strategies to refocus their entrepreneurship support efforts, including:

  • Facilitate catalytic events that bring entrepreneurs together to learn and connect.
  • Reinvent existing public venture funds in ways that distribute multiple small investments and involve local entrepreneurs in award selection.
  • Reorganize existing incubators along a holistic format that integrates incubated firms, other local startups and experienced local entrepreneurs.
  • Identify and celebrate successful local entrepreneurs.
  • Reexamine professional and occupational licensing with an eye toward lowering barriers for startups.
  • Simplify tax codes and payment systems.
  • Rethink non-compete agreements.
  • Streamline zoning and approval processes.
  • Welcome immigrants, who have been nearly twice as likely as native-born Americans to start businesses.
  • Track the progress of whatever strategies are implemented.

While this may conflict with the goals of politicians seeking quick results, the paper emphasizes that all of the recommended strategies require a long-term outlook in order to work.

A Review of Research on Problematic Internet Use and Well-Being: With Recommendations for the U.S. Air Force

March 27, 2015 Comments off

A Review of Research on Problematic Internet Use and Well-Being: With Recommendations for the U.S. Air Force
Source: RAND Corporation

This report reviews the scientific literature on the epidemiology, prevention, and treatment of problematic Internet use (PIU) with the goal of informing Air Force policies aimed at mitigating PIU’s negative impact on operations and the mental health of Airmen. The report is motivated by a recent RAND study estimating that 6 percent of Airmen have PIU. Individuals with PIU, similar to people with substance addictions, suffer from excessive and compulsive online activities, symptoms of tolerance and withdrawal, and functional impairment. PIU is also strongly associated with other mental health problems including major depression. However, at present there is no single accepted definition of PIU, and no up-to-date estimates of the prevalence of PIU in the general U.S. population are available. A range of prevention and treatment approaches have been developed, but none has been rigorously tested in clinical trials. Prevention programs rely on workplace Internet policies and strategies to help individuals self-regulate their Internet use. Treatment approaches that have proven feasible and acceptable to patients with PIU include adaptations of cognitive-behavioral therapy, an evidence-based treatment for depression and anxiety, to the specific symptoms of PIU. Based on our findings, we recommend: (1) increasing awareness of PIU among organizational leadership and mental health professionals, (2) incorporating content related to PIU into existing trainings related to mental health, (3) providing support for self-regulation of Internet use on the job by incorporating PIU management principles into Internet use policies, and (4) continuing monitoring of the emerging scientific literature on PIU.

What Went Wrong with the FISA Court

March 26, 2015 Comments off

What Went Wrong with the FISA Court
Source: Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court is no longer serving its constitutional function of providing a check on the executive branch’s ability to obtain Americans’ private communications. Dramatic shifts in technology and law have changed the role of the FISA Court since its creation in 1978 — from reviewing government applications to collect communications in specific cases, to issuing blanket approvals of sweeping data collection programs affecting millions of Americans.

Under today’s foreign intelligence surveillance system, the government’s ability to collect information about ordinary Americans’ lives has increased exponentially while judicial oversight has been reduced to near-nothingness. This report concludes that the role of today’s FISA Court no longer comports with constitutional requirements, including the strictures of Article III and the Fourth Amendment. The report lays out several steps Congress should take to help restore the FISA Court’s legitimacy.

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