New to the art form? This Wall Street Journal article will get you orientated. Also, for more information on how some of these titles mislead lawmakers and the citizenry, find some academic commentary from Brian Christopher Jones here: https://works.bepress.com/brian_jones/.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

A Presidential Moniker: the No TRUMP Act

Representative Earl Blumenauer (D., OR) has introduced the No Taxpayer Revenue Used to Monetize the Presidency (No TRUMP) Act. The USA Today reports that the bill would "prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for events, overnight stays, food or other expenses at hotels owned or operated by a president or his relatives." 

According to the press release (see below), the measure "is an important check on the office of the presidency. It would ensure that there is no personal financial incentive by the current or any future president or his/her family to stay or hold official meetings or events at certain properties across the United States or abroad. In the interest of safety, the bill would allow the Secret Service to continue guarding Trump residences – Trump Towers in New York and Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach."

-------

Blumenauer Introduces Bill to Prevent Trump and His Family from Getting Wealthier from the Presidency

March 9, 2017 
Press Release
Washington, DC –  Today, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) introduced the No Taxpayer Revenue Used to Monetize the Presidency (No TRUMP) Act to prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to pay for events, overnight stays, food, or other miscellaneous expenses at hotels owned or operated by a president or his or her relatives.
“Trump and his family are riddled with conflicts of interests. Putting a strain on government resources for Trump to hold meetings with U.S. officials at Mar-a-Lago or for the Trump children to travel the world to promote the family business are just more examples,” said Blumenauer. “Presidents should not financially benefit from holding the office. No taxpayer money should be spent at Trump hotels. Period.”
The No TRUMP Act is an important check on the office of the presidency. It would ensure that there is no personal financial incentive by the current or any future president or his/her family to stay or hold official meetings or events at certain properties across the United States or abroad. In the interest of safety, the bill would allow the Secret Service to continue guarding Trump residences – Trump Towers in New York and Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach.
“With new conflicts of interest arising almost daily within the current administration, Republican leadership in Congress has failed to follow through on the President's promise to ‘drain the swamp,’” said Aaron Scherb, Common Cause's director of legislative affairs. “We applaud Congressman Blumenauer's leadership in introducing this legislation to help ensure that the presidency cannot be used to enrich oneself.”

Thursday, March 9, 2017

HONEST(y) for the EPA?

Rep. Lamar Smith (R., TX) has introduced the Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment (HONEST) Act of 2017, which according to its long title, would "prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible." 

But the proposal is controversial, and some groups are calling it "dishonest", noting that it "effectively prevents the EPA from using the weight of scientific evidence to protect public health and the environment."

The Bill is an updated version of Rep. Smith's Secret Science Reform Act of 2015.  

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

World's Greatest Healthcare Plan of 2017

Wow. 

The official title of Pete Sessions's (R., TX) most recent health care proposal is indeed: World's Greatest Healthcare Plan of 2017. To be clear, although it very much sounds like a Trump-backed measure, this is not the proposal backed by House Republicans—that Bill is known as the American Health Care Act. The former, however, is getting a lot of press

Alas, this is not even the first time Sessions has introduced the measure: he did so in 2016 as well. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

It's not Obamacare...It's Americare!

House Republicans have unveiled their replacement for the Affordable Care Act of 2010, which is named the American Health Care Act. The proposal would eliminate the mandate that the ACA implemented as regards every citizen having health insurance, and would replace it with a system of tax credits. it will also halt the expansion of Medicaid the ACA provided for. 

However, the law would keep three significant ACA provisions: "the prohibition on denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, the ban on lifetime coverage caps and the rule allowing young people to remain on their parents’ health plans until age 26."

Some Republicans are unhappy with the proposal, and have labelled it "Obamacare-lite" and "Obamacare 2.0." 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Obama's last-minute signing of the TALENT Act

The final law of the Obama era—signed at 11:07 am on January 20th, just before Donald Trump took the oath of office—was adorned with an acronym: Tested Ability to Leverage Exceptional National Talent (TALENT) Act of 2017. Put forward by House of Representative majority leader Kevin McCarthy (R., CA), the law is a bipartisan effort to continue to expand the role of technology in government. Although some of President Obama's efforts, such as the TPP, have already been abandoned by the Trump Administration, the Presidential Innovation Fellows Program will now need an Act of Congress to be done away with. 

Issie Lapowsky at Wired wrote an excellent piece on how the Act came to be signed by Obama in his final minutes as President. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

TRUMP Act Proposed by New York Lawmaker.

The president-elect, following the lead of his running mate (see entry on PENCE Bill, infra), has now inspired legislative nomenclature in his home state.

Monday, November 28, 2016

PENCE Bill Proposed to Ban Gay Conversion Therapy

NY Erie County legislator Patrick Burke has generated national and international attention with his recent proposal to ban gay conversion therapy in his jurisdiction: the bill is called the Prevention of Emotional Neglect and Childhood Endangerment or PENCE Bill. Named after Vice President-elect Mike Pence (R., IN), Burke said he developed the name specifically because of Governor Pence's support for such programs. 

Would not be at all surprised if one of Burke's Congressional colleagues puts forward a similarly-titled bill. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

The UK's "Great Repeal" Bill

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a "great repeal bill", which will repeal the European Communities Act 1972, and also—perhaps ironically—convert all EU regulations into British law. Future Parliaments would then have the opportunity to amend, improve or repeal such EU (eventually British) regulations as they see fit. 

The Bill is likely to be put forward in May 2017, and would need to travel through its Parliamentary stages—and be enacted into law—before the UK leaves the EU (presumably in 2019). 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

FAIRness Back in the Not-So-Friendly Skies?

Senator Edward J. Markey (D., MA) has introduced S. 2656, the Forbidding Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous (FAIR) Fees Act. Generally, the bill aims to "prohibit air carriers from imposing fees that are not reasonable and proportional to the costs incurred by the air carriers". According to a press release, the bill would also direct "the Department of Transportation to review any other fees charged by airlines". The text of the bill can be found here

I could be wrong, but I don't remember any bills that have used the word "ridiculous" in their acronym. A portion of the press release is provided below the jump. 

----------------------------------

Markey, Blumenthal Introduce Legislation to Ground Rising Airline Fees


Forbidding Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous (FAIR) Fees Act would protect consumers by limiting fees for checked bags, ticket changes and cancellations
Washington (March 9, 2016) – In recent years, airlines have increasingly charged consumers fees for basic aviation services, including checking a bag and changing or canceling a flight reservation. A recent investigation by the minority staff of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee found that of the eight carriers the Committee queried three increased checked baggage fees by 67 percent between 2009 and 2014. And four airlines increased domestic cancellation fees by 33 percent between 2009 and 2014, one increased the fee by 50 percent, and one increased its fee by 66 percent. In an effort to protect consumers from these rising fees, Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today introduced the Forbidding Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous (FAIR) Fees Act, legislation that prohibits airlines from imposing fees, including cancellation, change and bag fees, that are not reasonable and proportional to the costs of the serves provided. The legislation also directs the Department of Transportation to review any other fees charged by airlines. In 2015, American Airlines, Delta, and United cumulatively earned approximately $19.4 billion in profits. Through the first three quarters of 2015, airlines collected more than $5 billion in bag fees and change/cancellation fees. 
“Airlines fees are as high as the planes passengers are traveling on, and it’s time to stop their rapid ascent,” said Senator Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “In recent years, fees and ticket prices have gone up despite the fact that gas prices and airline choices have gone down. Airlines should not be allowed to overcharge captive passengers just because they need to change their flight or have to check a couple of bags. There is no justification for charging consumers a $200 fee to resell a $150 ticket that was cancelled well in advance. The FAIR Fees Act puts a stop to this fee gouging and will help ensure passengers are flying the fair and friendly skies.”

“This measure will ground the soaring, gouging fees that contribute to airlines’ record profits and passengers’ rising pain,” said Senator Blumenthal, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “With all the frills of flying already gone, airlines are increasingly resorting to nickel and diming consumers with outrageous fees. These runaway charges are anti-consumerism at its worst – in some cases doubling passenger fares despite plummeting fuel costs and soaring airline profits. A parent who wants to sit with his young child, a customer who wants to check or carry on a bag, or have Wi-Fi, or a traveler who needs to change or cancel a reservation should not incur exorbitant, unnecessary fees on the whim of an airline.”

A copy of the FAIR Fees Act can he found HERE.
...

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Got the Right PARTS?

Yesterday the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet considered Rep. Darrell Issa's (R., CA) H.R. 1057: Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade, and Sales (PARTS) Act of 2015. According to a statement by Jerrold Nadler (D., NY) noted that the measure would 'reduce the term of design patent protection for exterior automotive repair parts, like fenders, side-view mirrors, and headlights, from 14 years to two-and-a-half years'. 

A portion of Nadler's statement is located below the jump. A full text can be found here

---------

Rep. Nadler Statement on the Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade, and Sales (PARTS) Act of 2015

Feb 2, 2016 Issues: Jobs, Labor and the Economy
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, delivered the following statement during a hearing on the Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade, and Sales (PARTS) Act of 2015 defending intellectual property rights that work for consumers.
The full text of the statement is below:     
“Today we consider H.R. 1057, the “Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade, and Sales,” or PARTS, Act of 2015.  This legislation, introduced by Chairman Issa and the Gentlewoman from California, Ms. Lofgren, would reduce the term of design patent protection for exterior automotive repair parts, like fenders, side-view mirrors, and headlights, from 14 years to two-and-a-half years.
“Supporters see it as a pro-consumer bill to foster much-needed competition in the collision repair parts market.  But, opponents see it as an unfair exemption to established patent law at the expense of one industry, with potential safety implications.  Each side makes compelling arguments, and I appreciate the opportunity to examine these issues in greater detail today.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Hey...One at a Time!

Rep. Mia Love (R., UT) has introduced H.R. 4335, the One Subject at a Time Act. As you might imagine, the bill hopes to "end the practice of including more than one subject in a single bill by requiring that each bill enacted by Congress be limited to only one subject, and for other purposes". While this may not be common-place for Congress, it certainly is in the states: 41 currently have constitutional clauses regarding single-subject bills, and 15 require initiatives to address only one subject. 

The proposal as a federal constitutional amendment has been a popular one throughout the years, and recently Rep. Tom Moreno (R., PA), has filed an amendment to do just that. 

A press release for the legislation is provided below the jump. 

----------------------------

News Release

From the Office of Congresswoman Mia Love

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE



Rep. Mia Love says Consider Bills ‘One Subject At A Time’
“Let’s Stop Legislation that includes everything but the kitchen sink”

WASHINGTON D.C. (January 11, 2016) – Congresswoman Mia Love is keeping her promise to give the people of Utah a stronger voice in the legislative process.  She has introduced a bill that would only allow legislation to contain one subject at a time.

“I continually hear from constituents about their frustration over the multi-rider, large, must pass at the 11th hour bills Washington is so fond of,” Rep. Love said.  “Congress is bundling too many things together.  My bill would change that.  Each bill should stand or fall on its own merits.”

There are numerous examples of bills that have stacked unrelated issues together in a massive bill, which has outraged the American people .

Rep. Love has introduced The One Subject at a Time Act (H.R. 4335).  Her bill would:

·         Require that each bill enacted by Congress be limited to only one subject.
·         End the practice of attaching controversial legislation to unrelated, must-pass bills.
·         Require the subject of a bill to be clearly stated in its title.
·         Make void in appropriations bills, general legislation that does not pertain to the underlying bill.
·         Make the legislative process more transparent to the public.
Congresswoman Love says this is another way she is working to bring Utah values to Washington.  Utah’s Constitution has a similar provision that states: “No bill shall be passed containing more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title.”

“Members of both parties have made a habit of passing complex, thousand page bills without hearings, amendments or debate,” Rep. Love said.  “That process and the collusion that goes with it are why we are $18 trillion in debt and why the American people have lost trust in elected officials.”