Thursday, May 17, 2018

From Slip Law to United States Code: A Guide to Federal Statutes for Congressional Staff

"This report provides an overview of federal statutes in their various forms, as well as basic guidance for congressional staff interested in researching statutes. When a bill becomes a law, the newly enacted statute may amend or repeal earlier statutes or it may create a new or “freestanding” law. Either way, these new statutes are first printed individually as “slip laws” and numbered by order of passage as either public laws, or less frequently, private laws. Slip laws are later aggregated and published chronologically in volumes known as the United States Statutes at Large (Statutes at Large). Statutes of a general and permanent nature are then incorporated into the United States Code (U.S. Code), which arranges the statutes by subject matter into 54 titles and five appendices.

Statutes may be updated and published as amended public laws. As the statutes that underlie the U.S. Code are revised, superseded, or repealed, the provisions of the U.S. Code are also updated to reflect these changes. In these instances, the authoritative language remains the enacting statute, or the “base law.” However, some titles of the U.S. Code have been passed into “positive law,” meaning the law exists as it does in the U.S. Code and the title itself is the authoritative language. In these instances, it is the U.S. Code sections that are revised, superseded, or repealed, as the underlying statutes have all been revoked..."
Federal statutes

U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations During President Trump’s First Year in Office: Comparative Analysis with Recent Presidents

"This report, in light of continued Senate interest in the judicial confirmation process during a President’s first year in office, provides statistics related to the nomination and confirmation of U.S. circuit and district court nominees during the first year of the Trump presidency (as well as during the first year of each of his three immediate predecessors—Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton).
Some of the report’s findings regarding circuit court nominations include the following:
 The number of U.S. circuit court vacancies decreased by 1, from 17 to 16, during the first year of the Trump presidency. The percentage of circuit court judgeships that were vacant decreased from 9.5% to 8.9%.
 During his first year in office, President Trump nominated 19 individuals to U.S. circuit court judgeships, of whom 12 (or 63%) were also confirmed during the first year of his presidency.
 Of individuals nominated to circuit court judgeships during President Trump’s first year in office, 15 (79%) were men and 4 (21%) were women.
 Of individuals nominated to circuit court judgeships during President Trump’s first year in office, 17 (89%) were white and 2 (11%) were Asian American. 
 The average age of President Trump’s first-year circuit court nominees was 49.
 Of individuals nominated to circuit court judgeships during President Trump’s first year in office, 16 (84%) received a rating of well qualified from the American Bar Association, 2 (11%) received a rating of qualified, and 1 (5%) received a rating of not qualified.
 The average length of time from nomination to confirmation for President Trump’s first-year circuit and district court nominees (combined) was 115 days, or approximately 3.8 months.
 Each of the circuit court nominees confirmed during President Trump’s first year in office was confirmed by roll call vote (and none by unanimous consent or voice vote).
 Of the 12 circuit court nominees confirmed during President Trump’s first year in office, 11 received more than 20 nay votes at the time of confirmation (and of the 11, 9 received more than 40 nay votes)..."
President Trump's court nominations

Financial Regulation: The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155)

"The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155) was passed by the Senate on March 14, 2018. The bill generally aims to provide regulatory relief to banks, relax mortgage lending rules, relax capital formation regulations, and provide additional consumer protections related to credit reporting and other areas. This Insight briefly highlights major policy proposals. For a more detailed examination, see CRS Report R45073, Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155) and Selected Policy Issues, coordinated by [author name scrubbed].

Some observers assert the financial crisis of 2007-2009 revealed excessive risk had built up in the financial system, and that weaknesses in regulation contributed to that buildup and the resultant instability. In response, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (P.L. 111-203; Dodd-Frank). In addition, regulators strengthened rules under existing authorities, such as by implementing regulations adhering to the Basel III Accords—the international agreement setting standards for bank regulation. Following this broad overhaul of financial regulation, some observers argue the changes are an overcorrection and certain regulations are unduly burdensome. In general, S. 2155aims to address these concerns by providing regulatory relief to segments of the financial system..."Financial Regulations

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Vital Signs: Trends in Reported Vectorborne Disease Cases — United States and Territories, 2004–2016

"Introduction: Vectorborne diseases are major causes of death and illness worldwide. In the United States, the most common vectorborne pathogens are transmitted by ticks or mosquitoes, including those causing Lyme disease; Rocky Mountain spotted fever; and West Nile, dengue, and Zika virus diseases. This report examines trends in occurrence of nationally reportable vectorborne diseases during 2004–2016.
Methods: Data reported to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System for 16 notifiable vectorborne diseases during 2004–2016 were analyzed; findings were tabulated by disease, vector type, location, and year.
Results: A total 642,602 cases were reported. The number of annual reports of tickborne bacterial and protozoan diseases more than doubled during this period, from >22,000 in 2004 to >48,000 in 2016. Lyme disease accounted for 82% of all tickborne disease reports during 2004–2016. The occurrence of mosquitoborne diseases was marked by virus epidemics. Transmission in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa accounted for most reports of dengue, chikungunya, and Zika virus diseases; West Nile virus was endemic, and periodically epidemic, in the continental United States..."
Vectorborne Diseases

African American Members of the United States Congress: 1870-2018

"In total, 153 African Americans have served in Congress. This total includes
  143 African Americans (137 Representatives and 6 Delegates) elected only to the House of Representatives;
 9 African Americans elected or appointed only to the Senate; and
 1 African American who has served in both chambers.

The first African American Members, Senator Hiram Revels of Mississippi and Representative Joseph Rainey of South Carolina, both took the oath of office in 1870. These first two Members were among the 22 African American Members (2 in the Senate, 20 in the House) that began their service in the period of time after the Civil War but prior to the start of the 20th Century. After these first 22, the presence of African Americans in the Membership of Congress was not continuous and there were subsequent periods in both chambers with no African American Members..."
African Americans in Congress

Artificial Intelligence and National Security

"Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a rapidly growing field of technological development with potentially significant implications for national security. As such, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is developing AI applications for a range of military functions. AI research is underway in the fields of intelligence collection and analysis, logistics, cyberspace operations, command and control, and a variety of military autonomous vehicles. AI applications are already playing a role in operations in Iraq and Syria, with algorithms designed to speed up the target identification process. Congressional action has the potential to shape the technology’s trajectory, with fiscal and regulatory decisions potentially influencing growth of national security applications and the standing of military AI development versus international competitors.."
Artificial intelligence and defense

Monday, April 30, 2018

Do you think about air quality?

"Today’s the day to start thinking about air quality.
What can you do? Pay attention to the Air Quality Index (AQI). The AQI is a tool that tells you when high levels of air pollution are predicted and tells you how air pollution affects your health. Finding the AQI is easy. It’s on the Web, on many local TV weather forecasts, or you can sign up for free e-mail tools and apps. AQI is easy to use. If the AQI predicts a “Code Orange” (unhealthy for sensitive groups) day don’t cancel your plans—use the AQI to help you plan a better time or place for them.
The AQI tells you about five major air pollutants in the U.S. that are regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency, including ozone and particle pollution. Ozone and particle pollution may harm the health of hundreds of thousands of Americans each year..."
Air quailty

New Data on Autism: Five Facts to Know

"Many children are living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and they need services and support, now and as they grow into adolescence and adulthood. More can be done to ensure that children with ASD are evaluated as soon as possible after developmental concerns are recognized. Read on to learn more about CDC’s new data on ASD.
Findings from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network help us understand more about the number of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the features of those children, and the age at which these children are first evaluated and diagnosed. These findings are critical for
  • Promoting early identification of children with ASD;
  • Planning services for children and families living with ASD and trainings for the professionals who provide those services;
  • Guiding future ASD research; and
  • Informing policies that promote improved outcomes in health care and education for individuals with ASD.
The highlights below come from the most recent ADDM Network report, and they are based on information collected from the health and special education (if available) records of 8-year-old children who lived in communities in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin during 2014..."

How to control your asthma

"Using what you know about managing your asthma can give you control over this chronic disease. When you control your asthma, you will breathe easier, be as active as you would like, sleep well, stay out of the hospital, and be free from coughing and wheezing.To learn more about how you can control your asthma, visit CDC’s asthma site.
Asthma is one of the most common lifelong chronic diseases. One in 13 Americans (more than 24 million) lives with asthma, a disease affecting the lungs and causing repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing.
Although asthma cannot be cured, you can control your asthma successfully to reduce and to prevent asthma attacks, also called episodes. Successful asthma management includes knowing the warning signs of an attack, avoiding things that may trigger an attack, and following the advice of your healthcare provider..."

Report on RuSsian Active Measures

Read the final report of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence  Report on Russia Active Measures, issued March 22, 2018.
House Select Commitee on Intelligence Russia Report

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Living With COPD

"Fighting for each breath is only part of the struggle for those living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Learn how people’s lives are affected by COPD and what can be done to manage it.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, makes breathing hard for the 16 million Americans who have been diagnosed with COPD. Millions more have COPD but have not been diagnosed and are not being treated. Some symptoms of COPD are frequent coughing or wheezing, excess phlegm or sputum, and shortness of breath. Adults with COPD are more likely to be unable to work and have trouble with daily activities.1 These problems are even worse for those who smoke and who aren’t physically active.1 If you have COPD, there are things you can do to make life easier..."

World Malaria Day 2018

"Join CDC and partners to raise awareness for World Malaria Day.
On World Malaria Day 2018, we are at a pivotal moment in the global fight against this deadly infectious disease. This year’s theme, “Ready to beat malaria,” presents both a moment of self-reflection and a charge to unite around the common goal of a world free of malaria.
Evidence shows that the hard work by CDC and a range of committed global partners in recent years has paid off. Almost 7 million lives have been saved since 2001 thanks to the vigorous expansion of proven malaria interventions and the collective efforts of public health and political leaders in countries where malaria remains a serious threat. Support from the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI); Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria; and Roll Back Malaria have made major contributions to the gains we’ve achieved.."


Stop Spread of Unusual Antibiotic Resistance

"CDC empowers states to combat the growing threat of antibiotic resistance—when germs develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. Identifying unusual resistance and taking early and aggressive action can keep germs from spreading.
Antibiotic resistance (AR) is harder to control once it spreads and becomes common. A recent CDC report highlighted the importance of containing the spread of “unusual” AR and includes data from CDC’s AR Lab Network, a new resource that can help identify these threats rapidly.
Antibiotic-resistant germs can spread like wildfire. Each year in the U.S., at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die. You likely know someone who has had a tough-to-treat infection..."
Antibiotic resistance

New Ads From Former Smokers

"Let stories from former smokers encourage you or someone you love to quit.
Each year in the United States, more people die from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes, and alcohol—combined. Tobacco-related death and disease still affect too many loved ones and friends. If you smoke cigarettes or know someone who does, now is a great time to quit. Quitting can be hard, and people quit smoking for many different reasons. Some smokers have reported that they need to see and hear what it would be like to live with the health consequences of smoking in order to become motivated to quit.
Now in its seventh year, CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers® campaign continues to bring compelling messages designed to inspire smokers to quit. These messages highlight the faces and lives of real people who have been harmed by cigarette smoking. This April, watch for new TV ads that call attention to cancer and other diseases experienced by former smokers..."
Smokers and ads

Protect Your Baby with Immunization

"Immunization is one of the best ways parents can protect their infants from 14 serious childhood diseases before age 2. Vaccinate your child according to the CDC’s recommended immunization schedule for safe, proven disease protection.
Diseases that vaccine prevent can be very serious—even deadly—especially for infants and young children. Vaccines reduce your child’s risk of infection by working with their body’s natural defenses to help them safely develop immunity to disease. Immunizations have helped improve the health of children in the United States. Most parents today have never seen first-hand the devastating consequences that vaccine-preventable diseases have on a family or community. Although most of these diseases are not common in the United States, they still exist around the world, so it is important to protect your child with vaccines..."
Babies and immunization