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:

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Focus on the Family

The Obama Administration and Sen. Mikulski (D., MD) focus on the (American) family in an attempt to avoid sequestration: American Family Economic Protection Act of 2013.

S. 388 – American Family Economic Protection Act of 2013
(Senator Mikulski, D-MD, and 2 cosponsors)

The Administration strongly supports S. 388, the American Family Economic Protection Act of 2013.  The bill is consistent with the President's balanced approach to reduce the deficit while supporting job creation, long-term economic growth, and protecting the most vulnerable.  Economists and business leaders from across the spectrum have said that the Nation's economy is poised for progress, and the country already has seen signs of that progress.  But the threat of massive automatic cuts, known as sequestration, will have a significant adverse impact on economic growth.

S. 388 would delay sequestration and provide the Congress with the time necessary to enact balanced deficit reduction that would put the Nation on a more sustainable fiscal path.  If sequestration occurs, it will harm critical Government programs that serve the middle class, seniors, and vulnerable individuals and protect national security.  It would mean fewer teachers to educate children, less funding for schools to help disadvantaged students or children with disabilities, and less research into life-threatening diseases.  It also would mean cuts to nutrition assistance for vulnerable populations and reduced funding for essential mental health programs.  It would keep Federal agencies from conducting the inspections necessary to keep the Nationˈs food, air, and water safe and clean.  It would make the country less secure at home, and reduce our ability to protect the Nationˈs borders, stay ahead of emerging cybersecurity threats, and keep crime off the Nationˈs streets and out of its neighborhoods.  It would make the Nation less safe abroad by causing critical degradations in the support for and readiness of the Armed Forces.

Responsible, balanced deficit reduction requires a targeted, strategic plan that protects our shared priorities.  The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to enact such a plan.

* * * * * * *

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

National Lawmakers Go Global

Rep. Christopher Smith (R., NJ) wants global internet freedom. That's why he introduced the Global Online Freedom Act of 2013

  1st Session
                                H. R. 491

 To prevent United States businesses from cooperating with repressive 
governments in transforming the Internet into a tool of censorship and 
   surveillance, to fulfill the responsibility of the United States 
Government to promote freedom of expression on the Internet, to restore 
public confidence in the integrity of United States businesses, and for 
                            other purposes.



                            February 4, 2013

   Mr. Smith of New Jersey introduced the following bill; which was 
 referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the 
Committees on Ways and Means and Financial Services, for a period to be 
subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration 
  of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee 


                                 A BILL

 To prevent United States businesses from cooperating with repressive 
governments in transforming the Internet into a tool of censorship and 
   surveillance, to fulfill the responsibility of the United States 
Government to promote freedom of expression on the Internet, to restore 
public confidence in the integrity of United States businesses, and for 
                            other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,


    (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Global Online 
Freedom Act of 2013''.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Rare, Doubly Accurate Acronym Title

In a rare feat of double short title accuracy, Rep. Vera (D., Tex.) gets both the acronym short title and the spelled out short title to be a fairly genuine description of her bill, the Putting Our Resources Toward Security (PORTS) Act. Here is the summary: 

Putting Our Resources Toward Security (PORTS) Act - Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security, between FY2014-FY2018, to increase the number of full-time Customs and Border Protection officers, active-duty agriculture specialists, and active-duty border security support personnel for U.S. ports of entry by not fewer than 5,000, 1,200, and 350, respectively, above the number of such personnel for which funds were made available during FY2012.
Authorizes appropriations to the Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) for each of FY2014-FY2018 to make improvements to existing U.S. ports of entry to improve border security. Directs the Administrator to give priority to ports determined to be in most need of repair in accordance with required infrastructure assessment studies.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Acronymania in CO

MLSF (Mountain States Legal Foundation) sues CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation), says that Colorado's FASTER (Funding Advancements for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery) Act of 2009 violates TABOR (Colorado’s Constitution’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights). See the MLSF's press release below.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                       
Contact: William Perry Pendley


February 11, 2013 – DENVER, CO.  A Colorado group that defends the rights of taxpayers today urged a Colorado state court to grant it summary judgment in its lawsuit against two Colorado bodies and their officials for violation of the Colorado’s Constitution’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR).  In May 2012, the TABOR Foundation filed a lawsuit in Denver County Court alleging that its members should have been allowed to vote on $100 million in new taxes and $300 million in new government bonds imposed by the Colorado Bridge Enterprise, a government-owned business created by the Funding Advancements for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery (FASTER) Act in 2009.  The suit named the Bridge Enterprise, the Colorado Transportation Commission and its members, who oversee both the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Bridge Enterprise.  In its filing today, the Foundation sought declaratory and injunctive relief and refund of all revenues collected, as well as payment of interest, pursuant to TABOR.   

“The Bridge Enterprise violates TABOR because it does not function as a business given its power to levy a general tax and it got over ten percent of its revenue in CDOT grants,” said William Perry Pendley of Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF); MSLF represents the TABOR Foundation.

In 2009, the Colorado General Assembly passed Senate Bill 09-108, commonly known as FASTER, which provides for creation of the Colorado Bridge Enterprise, a government-owned business chartered to repair and to maintain bridges in Colorado.  Previously, that work was performed by CDOT, which is overseen by an 11-member board; that board now also oversees the Bridge Enterprise.  In addition, CDOT’s Executive Director is the Director of the Bridge Enterprise and CDOT’s CFO is CFO of the Bridge Enterprise. 

FASTER imposes a “bridge safety surcharge,” based on weight, which is collected whenever a vehicle is registered anywhere in Colorado.  Almost half of Colorado’s 64 counties will receive no direct benefit from the Bridge Enterprise; nonetheless, the residents of these 29 counties must pay the same bridge tax as residents of the counties allegedly benefitted by the tax...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Come Together

Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduce the bipartisan Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). 

Leahy And Collins Introduce Bipartisan Uniting American Families Act

. . . Legislation Will Bring Equality To Same-Sex Couples Under Immigration Law

WASHINGTON (Wednesday, February 13, 2013) – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Wednesday introduced bipartisan legislation to update U.S. immigration law to permit American citizens to sponsor same-sex “permanent partners” applying for legal residency in the United States. 

The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) would allow American citizens who are in long term committed relationships to sponsor their foreign partners for green cards under the family immigration system, just as heterosexual married couples are currently allowed to do under the law.  Leahy has championed the proposal since 2003, when he first introduced legislation, and welcomed Collins as the first Republican cosponsor of UAFA last year.  In the 113th Congress, Collins joins Leahy as an original cosponsor of the legislation...

Legislative techies?

Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) introduce the Startup Act 3.0.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 13, 2013
Contacts: Garrette Silverman (Moran) – 202-224-6521
Kevin Hall (Warner) – 202-224-2023
Ian Koski (Coons) – 202- 224-5042
Amber Marchand (Blunt) – 202- 224-1403

Bipartisan jobs and high-skilled immigration bill would jumpstart economy through the creation and growth of new businesses

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), along with Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), today introduced Startup Act 3.0 – the updated version of their bipartisan jobs and high-skilled immigration plan to jumpstart the economy through the creation and growth of new businesses.

Startup Act 3.0 creates both Entrepreneur and STEM Visas for highly-educated and entrepreneurial immigrants to stay in the United States where their talent and new ideas can fuel economic growth and create American jobs. The legislation also modifies the tax code to encourage investment in new businesses, accelerates the commercialization of university research that can lead to new ventures, and seeks to improve the regulatory process...

Expanded and Improved!

Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) reintroduces H.R. 676, the Expanded And Improved Medicare For All Act.

Conyers Reintroduces National Single-Payer Health Care Bill

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) reintroduced H.R. 676, “The Expanded And Improved Medicare For All Act.”  This bill would establish a privately-delivered, publicly-financed universal health care system, where physicians and non-profit health care providers would be in charge of medical decisions -- not insurance companies. H.R. 676 would expand and improve the highly popular Medicare program and provide universal access to care to all Americans.  The program would be primarily funded by a modest payroll tax on employers and employees, a financial transaction tax, and higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

H.R.676 has been introduced in Congress since 2003, and has a broad base of support among universal health care activists, organized labor, physicians, nurses, and social justice organizations across the nation. The bill has been endorsed by 26 international unions, Physicians For A National Health Program, two former editors of the New England Journal of Medicine, National Nurses United, the American Medical Students Association, Progressive Democrats of America, and the NAACP. Last Congress, 77 other Members in the House of Representatives signed on as cosponsors of the legislation. In 2011, the Vermont legislature passed legislation that lays the foundation for a single-payer health care system in the state...

Living on the Edge?

Steven Tyler just bought a house on Maui. In honor of his arrival the Hawaii State Legislature is currently mulling the Steven Tyler Act, which provides celebrities the right to sue paparazzi for taking unwanted photographs. 

S.B. NO.





     SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that Hawaii is home to many celebrities, particularly on Maui, who are subjected to harassment from photographers and reporters seeking photographs and news stories.  The privacy of these celebrities endure unwarranted invasion into their personal lives.  Although their celebrity status may justify a lower expectation of privacy, the legislature finds that sometimes the paparazzi go too far to disturb the peace and tranquility afforded celebrities who escape to Hawaii for a quiet life.
     Existing Hawaii statutes are silent on a civil cause of action for constructive invasion of privacy.  Therefore, many celebrities are deterred from buying property or vacationing in Hawaii because the same paparazzi that harass them on the mainland are more likely to follow them to Hawaii.  However, a few celebrities are not discouraged from visiting or residing in our beautiful State.  For example, Steven Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith for over forty years, former "American Idol" judge, and world-renowned celebrity has recently purchased a home on Maui.  He will now be sharing his time between Boston, Los Angeles, and his new home on Maui.  In honor of Steven Tyler's contribution to the arts in Hawaii and throughout the world, this Act shall be known as the Steven Tyler Act.
     The purpose of this Act is to encourage celebrities to visit and reside in our State by creating a civil cause of action for the constructive invasion of privacy...