On August 23rd, five environmental groups petitioned the EPA asking them to outlaw fishing tackle and ammunition made of lead under their Toxic Substances Control Act powers to regulate substances that "present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment." The EPA has rejected the petition as it pertains to ammunition due to special protections written into the law for firearm-related article, but they have yet to rule on lead fishing tackle. In response, Sen. Blanche Lincoln [D, AR] has introduced the Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection Act, which would make it illegal for the EPA to regulat fishing equipment in the same way it's illegal for them to regulate gun equipment.Read Full Article
A strange thing happened in the Senate last week. After years of rejecting the House's attempt to pass the "Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act" that would force states to accept out-of-state notarizations of documents, including electronic notarizations, the bill was suddenly discharged from committee, called up on the Senate floor, and quickly passed under unanimous consent. Even the bill's sponsor, Rep. Robert Aderholt [R, AL-4], said that he was "surprised that it came through at the eleventh hour." Nobody expected the bill to come up for Senate passage, but since it seemed innocuous enough and because senators were itching to get out of D.C. and hit the campaign trails, they passed it without any debate or dissent.Read Full Article
Hopefully one of the effects of easier access to government information and the kind of detailed, independent reporting that you can get on the internet is that when people hear politicians called out on their voting record, they're less willing to just accept what they hear as a fact. If you've spent any time looking at congressional vote data or reading quality blogs on Congress, you'd know that nothing is ever straight-forward.Read Full Article
In the final days of the pre-election congressional session, the combination of everybody in Congress wanting to do something to boost the economy while at the same time being unwilling to go near anything that would add to the deficit led to some creative legislating.
You've probably heard about the bill that the House passed last week (H.R.2378) to put tariffs on Chinese imports in order to pressure them into letting their currency appreciate. Well, on the same day they voted on that bill, they passed something else designed to help the economy that has gotten less attention. That bill, the "Coin Modernization, Oversight, and Continuity Act of 2010," is aimed at giving the Treasury Department authority to take a look at an obscure issue in our monetary system, the fact that it's costing the government these days nearly 2 cents to make a penny and nearly 10 cents to make a nickel.Read Full Article
By historical standards, the 111th Congress has been incredibly prolific. But on the most important issue facing humanity right now, they never even got so far as introducing a viable bill in the all-important upper chamber.Read Full Article