Monday, October 6, 2008

Survivors of Federal Safety Officers, GSEs Banned From Lobbying, Derivative and Hedgefund Oversight and Consumer Credit Protections: October 3, 2008

Friday was the last day Congress was in session. The House has recessed 'at the call of the chair', so they are out unless they get called back to work by Pelosi, which is possible in light of the economic crisis we're in the midst of. The Senate has recessed until November 17th, when they will come back for a brief lameduck session to deal with some bills.

The House was briefly in session on Friday to pass the Financial Rescue bill, along with some other legislation, and they also introduced several interesting bills, which are pasted below:

This first bill is a great one that would provide enhanced benefits to survivors of Federal public safety officers killed in line of duty.

By Mr. HALL (D-NY):
H.R. 7263. A bill to amend chapters 81, 83, and 84 of title 5, United States Code, to provide for enhanced benefits for survivors of Federal public safety officers killed in the line of duty; to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Source: GPO [H10828]

This next bill is another great one that would prohibit lobbying or contributions from GSEs (Government Sponsored Enterprises) such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

H.R. 7254. A bill to prohibit government-sponsored enterprises from making lobbying expenditures, political contributions, or other certain contributions; to the Committee on Financial Services. Source: GPO [H10828]

These final two bills deal with the current economic crisis, and what got us into so much trouble to start with, both on a large scale (derivative dealers and hedge fund managers) and on a smaller personal scale (providing individuals better protection and transparency when dealing with consumer credit):

H.R. 7266. A bill to amend the Federal securities laws to enhance oversight over certain derivatives dealers and hedge funds, reduce the potential for such entities to increase systemic risk in the financial markets, enhance investor protections, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Financial Services. Source: GPO [H10828]

H.R. 7258. A bill to create a new Consumer Credit Safety Commission, to provide individual consumers of credit with better information and stronger protections, and to provide sellers of consumer credit with more regulatory certainty; to the Committee on Financial Services. Source: GPO [H10828]

Friday, October 3, 2008

Metal Theft and Fencing, Penalties for Drunk Driving Employees & National Auto Inspection Standards: October 1, 2008

The House was not in session yesterday and the Senate spent large part of the day dealing with the financial rescue/bailout plan and the US-India Nuclear Agreement. Below is one bill introduced in the Senate yesterday as well as a few others introduced in the House and Senate over the past week.

This first bill is an interesting one dealing with the new issue of metal theft and fencing, particularly copper:

By Ms. KLOBUCHAR (D-MN) (and Mr. HATCH (R-UT)):
S. 3666. A bill to require certain metal recyclers to keep records of their transactions in order to deter individuals and enterprises engaged in theft and interstate fencing of stolen copper, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Source: GPO [S10323]

Here in a bill introduced over the weekend in the House, which holds employers accountable when their employees are convicted of driving an 'over-the-road' bus under the influence of booze or drugs:

H.R. 7204. A bill to amend title 49, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Transportation to establish sanctions and penalties applicable to an employer whenever an employee of the employer is convicted of driving an over-the-road bus under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance while acting within the scope of the employee's employment; to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Source: GPO [H10330]

And finally, another bill by same Representative on same day. This one seems to make a lot of sense, but those that know transportation better than me would know if it is valid to hold same motor vehicle inspection standards for all states (national standard) instead of each state having their own individual standards. I can see how automobiles in different states would have different requirements. I'd have to think autos in Alaska and Colorado would have different needs than those in Arizona or New Mexico.

H.R. 7210. A bill to amend title 23, United States Code, to establish national standards for State safety inspections of motor vehicles, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Source: GPO [H10330]

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Peer-to-Peer Computer Programs, Tax Refund Loans & Aliens with Ph.D. from US Institution: September 30, 2008

The House was out yesterday and the Senate had a short day. Not really any bills of interest were introduced, however, there were some bills of note introduced over the past weekend as the Members stayed in DC to work on the financial rescue/bailout package.

Here are three bill introduced in the House on the 27th.

The first bill seems important to me in this new age of so many 'peer-to-peer' programs. The bill is to ensure both sides of the 'peer-to-peer' are aware they are hooked up to such program.

By Mrs. BONO MACK (R-CA)(for herself, Mr. BARROW (D-GA), and Mr. BARTON (R-TX)):
H.R. 7176. A bill to prohibit the installation on a computer of certain ``peer-to-peer'' file sharing software without first providing notice and obtaining consent from the owner or authorized user of the computer; to the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Source: GPO [H10299]

Finally, I think this next bill is also important. It deals with the many 'lenders' who offer 'tax refund loans' and works to improve advertising and disclosure requirements for the lenders.

H.R. 7188. A bill to amend the Truth in Lending Act to establish certain advertising and disclosure requirements with respect to tax refund anticipation loans, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Financial Services. Source: GPO [H10299]

And this final bill will probably bring some controversy. It allows aliens who receive a Ph.D. from US institution in certain areas to be admitted for permanent residence. If this will keep the best and brightest in the US, then I'm behind it.

By Mr. FLAKE (R-AZ):
H.R. 7184. A bill to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to authorize certain aliens who have earned a Ph.D. degree from a United States institution of higher education in a field of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics to be admitted for permanent residence and to be exempted from the numerical limitations on H-1B nonimmigrants; to the Committee on the Judiciary. Source: GPO [H10299]