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:

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Have You Been SAVE[D]?

Rep. Ann Wagner's SAVE (Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation) Act of 2014 was passed earlier this week by the House (392-19), and now travels to the Senate for consideration. According to the official summary of the bill, it "[p]rohibits knowingly benefitting financially from, receiving anything of value from, or distributing advertising that offers a commercial sex act in a manner that violates federal criminal code prohibitions against sex trafficking of children or of any person by force, fraud, or coercion."

I honor of House passage, Rep. Wagner released a video statement regarding the legislation: 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Fighting Bath SALTS?

Hearings were recently held in the Senate for Sen. Amy Klobuchar's SALTS (Synthetic Abuse and Labeling of Toxic Substances Act) Act.  The measure aims to enhance the fight against synthetic drugs, including those known as "bath salts," on the federal level. 

A partial press release on Sen. Klobuchar's bill is located below the jump. 



Winona Daily News

July 19, 2013

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced Thursday she is sponsoring legislation that would continue the fight against synthetic drugs at the federal level.
The bill, which already has bipartisan support, would make it easier to prosecute the sale and distribution of what are known as analogues, synthetic drugs that are close but not identical to those already banned. Manufacturers and sellers frequently market the products with the slogan “not fit for human consumption.”
The Drug Enforcement Agency has the ability to prosecute analogue drug distribution and sales, but not specifically those labeled as not fit for human consumption.
“When it comes to fighting the rise of synthetic drugs, it seems like every time one drug is made illegal another drug that is almost identical pops up, and law enforcement has to go through the entire process all over again,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “This bill will make it easier to crack down on new synthetic drugs by closing a loophole that allows drug dealers to flout the law.”
This bill would amend the federal Controlled Substances Act to require considering a number of factors when determining whether a controlled substance analogue was intended for human consumption. U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, and Diane Feinstein, D-California, are co-sponsoring the bill. ...

Friday, May 9, 2014

ENLIST Act Now in Amendment Form

Rep. Adam Smith (D., WA) has offered his ENLIST (Encourage New Legalized Immigrants to Start Training) Act as an amendment to the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act. Essentially, the measure would allow immigrants unlawfully present in the US to gain citizenship through serving in the military. 

A press release on the amendment is provided below the jump. 


Washington D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith offered anamendment to the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act designed to provide certain undocumented immigrants who serve in the military with permanent legal status. While the amendment was ruled out of order in committee on procedural ground, Smith pledged to continue to push the legislation.
“If an individual has been in the United States since a young age, and is committed enough to join the military, then they should be provided with the opportunity to become a permanent legal resident. It’s that simple,” said Ranking Member Adam Smith. “There is no better way for a young individual who feels a strong sense of connection to this country to become a citizen than to serve in the armed forces. My amendment will provide that opportunity and I will continue to work to attempt to overcome the procedural hurdles to this bill.”
The amendment, modeled after the ENLIST Act, would authorize the enlistment in the armed forces of undocumented immigrants who have been continuously present in the United States, were younger than 15 years of age when they initially entered the United States and are otherwise eligible for original enlistment in the armed forces.

Monday, May 5, 2014

An Open Book for Justice

The House Judiciary Committee has recently marked-up Rep. Cynthia Lummins's (R., WY) H.R. 2919, the Open Book on Equal Access to Justice Act.  Essentially the proposal amends the Equal Access to Justice Act, and would track the fees, administrative costs and other awards of those engaged in litigation with the United States (a feature of the original law that was eliminated by Congress in 1995). It would also require annual reports to Congress. 

A partial press release is noted below. 


Lummis, Cohen Draft Bill to Track Equal Access to Justice Act Payments

Bipartisan legislation restarts agency tracking obligations; modernizes record-keeping with online database.

f t # e
Washington, Aug 1, 2013 | Christine D'Amico ((202) 225-2311) 0 comments

U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) introduced legislation today, called the Open Book on Equal Access to Justice Act, to reinstate tracking and reporting requirements of payments made under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). ...

EAJA, initially passed in 1980, is funded by a permanent appropriation.  Payments of attorney’s fees and costs occur regardless of any annual spending decisions made by Congress.  To maintain its oversight responsibilities, Congress included a requirement that agencies and the Department of Justice issue annual reports on the amount of money paid out under the law.  Congress ended those tracking and reporting requirements in 1995.

The Open Book on Equal Access to Justice Act requires every federal agency to begin tracking EAJA payments again, and tasks the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) with compiling that data.  ACUS is also required to submit an annual report to Congress, and to establish an online searchable database that will allow the public access to how much has been paid from EAJA, from which agencies, and to whom taxpayer dollars are being paid. ...