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Category Archives: Legislation

USDA’s enforcement of animal welfare laws plummeted in 2018

Washington Post: “Two years ago, the Agriculture Department issued 192 written warnings to breeders, exhibitors and research labs that allegedly violated animal welfare laws, and the agency filed official complaints against 23, according to agency data. This year, those figures plummeted: The department had issued 39 warnings in the first three-quarters of fiscal 2018, and it filed and simultaneously settled one complaint — with a $2,000 fine for an infamous Iowa dog breeder who had already been out of business for five years. In August, USDA issued no warnings, filed no complaints and imposed no penalties through settlements with any of the 8,000 or so facilities it licenses and inspects under the federal Animal Welfare Act, according to documents obtained by an animal rights group. The agency says the drop is the result of a suspension of hearings due to litigation, as well as a revamped enforcement process that emphasizes working more closely with alleged violators rather than a protracted investigative process that numerous internal audits have faulted for ineffectiveness. But the result is less transparency into an increasingly opaque enforcement system. In two years, the agency’s records have gone from being publicly searchable online to often available only by Freedom of Information Act requests and in redacted form. And the enforcement changes, critics charge, favor regulated-animal businesses while further eroding public accountability…”

What’s new to Congress.gov in October?

In Custodia Legis: “For this release the Congress.gov Enhancements include: Enhancement – Advanced Legislation Search – Committee selection pages list all names When you choose all Congresses on the Advanced Legislation Search, the committee selection pages show committee name changes. Enhancement – Search Results Navigation – Page through all amendments for a specific bill From the Amendments tab… Continue Reading

Membership of the 115th Congress: A Profile

EveryCRSReport.com: Membership of the 115th Congress: A Profile, October 1, 2018 “This report presents a profile of the membership of the 115th Congress (2017-2018) as of October 1, 2018. Statistical information is included on selected characteristics of Members, including data on party affiliation, average age, occupation, education, length of congressional service, religious affiliation, gender, ethnicity,… Continue Reading

FDsys Website to be Retired This December

“This December, the transition from GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) to govinfo will be complete with the retirement of the FDsys website. In preparation for the retirement of FDsys in December, the two most important things to know about the transition are the following: Although the FDsys website is being replaced with the new, modern… Continue Reading

New Experimental Congress.gov Chrome Browser Extension

In Custodia Legis: “Have you ever found yourself reading a news story about legislation, and wished that you could quickly discover the primary source that the article discusses? With that use case in mind, we are excited to bring you an experimental, open source Google Chrome browser extension that will provide you with enhanced access to Congress.gov… Continue Reading

Important update about LC Public Access Portal for CRS Reports

Follow up to previous posting – LC Launches Portal for Public Access to Official CRS Reports – with additional pertinent information for researchers Via Steven Aftergood – Secrecy News/FAS: “The Congressional Research Service launched its new public portal this morning, with an initial installment of 628 reports dating back to January of this year. The back… Continue Reading

LC Launches Portal for Public Access to Official CRS Reports

Carla Haydn – Librarian of Congress – Congressional Research Service Reports Now Available Online – “…Moving forward, all new or updated reports will be added to the website as they are made available to Congress. The Library is also working to make available the back catalog of previously published reports as expeditiously as possible. More… Continue Reading

Costs of Government Interventions in Response to the Financial Crisis: A Retrospective, updated September 12, 2018

EveryCRSReport.com – Costs of Government Interventions in Response to the Financial Crisis: A Retrospective, updated September 12, 2018. “In August 2007, asset-backed securities (ABS), particularly those backed by subprime mortgages, suddenly became illiquid and fell sharply in value as an unprecedented housing boom turned into a housing bust. Losses on the many ABS held by… Continue Reading

50-state survey of social media privacy legislation

“Social media and related issues in the workplace can be a headache for employers. Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s Social Media Practice Group is pleased to provide you with an easy-to-use guide to social media privacy legislation and what employers need to know. The Social Media Privacy Legislation Desktop Reference 2017-2018: [h/t Joe] Describes the content and… Continue Reading

California just replaced cash bail with algorithms

Quartz: “Instead of leaving cash as collateral for freedom before a trial in court, those accused of crimes in California will be graded by an algorithm, starting in October 2019. A county official will then take that grade and use it to recommend whether the accused should be released or remain in jail. California governor… Continue Reading

Thousands of Historical California Legislative Publications Digitized and Openly Available Online

HathiTrust Blog: “HathiTrust now includes 4,000 California Assembly and Senate publications in its digital repository, available as a featured collection available for reading access worldwide. The result of a collaboration between the California Office of Legislative Counsel and librarians at the University of California, Stanford University, and the California State Library, the project was initiated… Continue Reading

After Equifax’s mega-breach, nothing changed

Axios:  The Equifax data breach was supposed to change everything about cybersecurity regulation on Capitol Hill. One year later, it’s not clear it changed much of anything. “Why it matters: A year ago Friday, Equifax — one of the major credit reporting agencies — announced that 145.5 million U.S. adults had their social security numbers… Continue Reading