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Administrative Procedures Act (APA)

Affirmative Action

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH)

Antiquities Act

Chevron Doctrine

CISPA: Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act

Civil Rights Act

Clemency Initiative

Congressional Accountability Act (CAA)

Congressional Review Act

DISCLOSE Act

DMCA: Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

Due Process / Equal Protection

Emergency Extended Benefits (EB)

Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)

ENDA: Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)

Ethics in Government Act

Fair Housing Act

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces

Farm Bill

Federal Arbitration Act (FAA)

Federal Reserve Dividend

Federal Vacancies Reform Act (FVRA)

FISA: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

Food Stamps

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)

Form 700

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

GI Bill

Global Change Research Act (GCRA)

Head Start

Holman Rule

Housing Act

Hyde Amendment

Johnson Amendment

Logan Act

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program

Mann Act

Military Lending Act

National Climate Assessment

National Consumer Assistance Plan

National Do Not Call Registry

National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)

National School Lunch Program

New Deal

ObamaCare

Occupational Safety and Health Act

Organic Act

Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA)

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act

Physician Payments Sunshine Act (PPSA)

Presidential Records Act (PRA)

Regulatory Right-to-Know Act

Rehabilitation Act

Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)

Sarbanes-Oxley Act

School Lunch Program

Sherman Antitrust Act

SNAP: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Social Security

Social Security Number

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Title X

TRICARE

TSA PreCheck

Voting Rights Act

Administrative Procedures Act (APA)

Law enacted in 1946 that governs how federal agencies propose and enact regulations.

It applies to both executive departments and independent agencies.

Affirmative Action

(Coming)

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH)

2015 regulation requiring cities to report affordable housing data to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in order to decrease racial segregation in housing.

A computer tool - the Local Government Assessment Tool - was developed to help cities determine how well they are meeting required goals.

Referenced by...
HUD takes back door to suspend anti-segregation program (2018-May-18)
Administration lays out new rules to encourage neighborhood integration (2015-Jul-08)

Antiquities Act

Law enacted in 1906 allowing the president to designate national monuments on land controlled by the federal government.

When a president designates land as national monument, new uses of the land (such as mining, drilling, logging, and ranching) are prohibited. However, if those activities already had been taking place, they likely would be able to continue.

Chevron Doctrine

A guideline for determining how much flexibility a federal agency has in creating regulations.

It is the result of the Supreme Court case Chevron v. NRDC, in which the court ruled that...

o If the law being implemented directly states how it must be implemented, the agency must follow the law as stated.

o If the law doesn't specify how it should be implemented, the agency's actions may be a "permissible" interpretation of the law - and a court must allow it.

CISPA: Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act

A bill passed by the House of Representatives in both 2012 and 2013, which would allow companies to share personal information about their customers (or website users) with the government, while also allowing the government to share that information with other companies. Read our discussion of the bill.

Civil Rights Act

A series of federal laws to prohibit most forms of discrimination based on a person's skin color, religion, or national origin.

There were were several Civil Rights Acts over various years...

o The 1957 Civil Rights Act

o The 1964 Civil Rights Act

o The 1968 Civil Rights Act

Clemency Initiative

2014 Obama administration program to grant clemency to people convicted of nonviolent crimes who received much longer sentences than they would have had they been sentenced under more recent laws.

Congressional Accountability Act (CAA)

1995 law that requires Congressional offices to provide the same employment and workplace protections that are required in rest of the federal government and in the private sector.

It created the Office of Compliance to administer the protections.

Congressional Review Act

1996 law that allows Congress to nullify a new rule from a federal agency.

Under the law, agencies must submit any new rule to Congress before the rule can take effect. Congress then has up to 60 days to pass a joint resolution to prevent the rule from taking effect. The resolution can only nullify the entire rule - it cannot modify just part of it.

The resolution is not subject to a filibuster. However, the presidential approval is required (if the president vetoes the resolution, the veto may be overridden by Congress).

If the rule is successfully nullified, the administration would not be allowed to issue a new one that is substantially the same.

The act is part of the 1996 Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act, which in turn is part of the 1996 Contract With America Advancement Act.

Referenced by...
Car loan minority protections repealed (2018-Apr-23)
Rule allowing class action suits against banks nullified. (2017-Nov-01)
Deadline to revoke Obama-era regulations expires (2017-May-11)
Methane Reduction Rule survives attempt to revoke it (2017-May-10)
Planned Parenthood protection revoked (2017-Apr-13)
Congress revokes Obama internet privacy protections (2017-Mar-29)
Trump signs bill to revoke Fair Pay & Safe Workplaces order (2017-Mar-27)
Rule to disclose payments to foreign governments nullified (2017-Feb-14)
Congress pulls rule keeping guns from mentally unstable (2017-Feb-08)
House resolution would remove protections for prepaid cards (2017-Feb-03)
Congress revokes Stream Protection rule (2017-Feb-03)
Congress proposes revoking protection from explosions (2017-Feb-01)
Arctic drilling banned through 2022 (2016-Nov-18)

DISCLOSE Act

The name of the DISCLOSE Act is an acronym for Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections.

(more to follow)

DMCA: Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

The 1998 law designed to protect copyrights on digital media. Among other things, the DMCA made it illegal to circumvent copy protection mechanisms built into electronics - a provision that has since been interpreted very broadly.

For more, read our discussion of the DMCA.

Referenced by...
You legally can unlock your cell phone again (2014-Aug-01)
House passes bill to re-allow cell phone unlocking (2014-Feb-26)
White House, Congress seek to legalize cell phone unlocking (2013-Mar-05)

Due Process / Equal Protection

A key provision in the Constitution that protects people from arbitrary acts by the government.

The Fifth Amendment states...

"...nor shall any person ...be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law..."

The Fourteenth Amendment extends that to state governments, adding that protections must be the same for every person...

"...nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. ..."

Emergency Extended Benefits (EB)

(Coming)

Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)

Acronym for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a 1974 law that helped ensure that retirees from a company would be able to receive the full pension promised them.

For more, read our discussion of the law.

ENDA: Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Legislation that would make it illegal for an employer to discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

For more, see our discussion of this issue.

Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)

1974 law making it illegal for a creditor to discriminate against credit applications based on rac, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, or age.

The ECOA is Title V of HR-11221 - a larger bill to regulate banking.

Referenced by...
Car loan minority protections repealed (2018-Apr-23)

Ethics in Government Act

1978 law that....

o Created the Office of Government Ethics (OGE)

o Requires high-ranking government officials (elected and appointed) to provide a financial disclosure to the OGE

o Creates the requirement for a special prosecutor in certain situations.

Fair Housing Act

1968 law that prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin.

Other protections were added later...

1974: Sex
1988: Disability and family status (such has having children).

The law is Section VIII of the 1968 Civil Rights Act.

Referenced by...
Administration lays out new rules to encourage neighborhood integration (2015-Jul-08)

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The Federal law which sets certain standards for working conditions, including...

o Minimum Wage
o Overtime
o Youth employment

Referenced by...
Bill would allow workers to take time off rather than overtime (2017-May-02)

Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces

A 2014 Executive Order by President Barack Obama that federal contractors who do more that $500,000 of business with the government disclose any labor law violations against them in the prior 3 years. Violations would not preclude the contractor from getting hired - but the information would be used in the determination.

A 2010 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found violations of environmental, wage, and safety laws in several companies that had large government contracts.

Just before the order was set to take effect in 2016, it was put on hold by a federal judge in Texas.

In March 2017, President Donald Trump signed a bill revoking the rules.

Referenced by...
Trump signs bill to revoke Fair Pay & Safe Workplaces order (2017-Mar-27)

Farm Bill

(Coming)

Federal Arbitration Act (FAA)

Law enacted in 1925 that makes arbitration clauses enforceable in most contracts that contain one.

Referenced by...
Court says legal system not guaranteed for workers (2018-May-21)

Federal Reserve Dividend

A bank wanting to be a national bank (which would exempt it from state usury laws) must become part of the Federal Reserve.

In order to do that, they must buy stock (i.e. partial ownership) in Federal Reserve district banks. These stocks are effectively risk free since the Federal Reserve's debts are backed by the U.S. government. The bank cannot sell or trade these stocks. However, they receive a dividend on the stock. The dividend rate currently is 6 percent (it hasn't changed in more than a century).

Federal Vacancies Reform Act (FVRA)

1998 law that dictates how the president is fill the vacancy for heads of executive agencies that require Senate confirmation.

It is part of the 1999 Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act.

Referenced by...
Senators sue to reverse Trump's AG appointment (2018-Nov-19)

FISA: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

(Coming)

Food Stamps

See Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)

1977 law enacted to prevent American companies from bribing foreign government officials in order to do business with them.

Click here for details of the bill.

Form 700

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires that companies with more than 50 employees provide health care coverage that includes contraception.

EBSA Form 700 is a form that religious nonprofit organizations can submit to their health insurance companies that allows the organization to refuse to provide certain forms of contraceptives to employees. The insurance company then would be required to provide these contraceptives to covered employees at no cost to the organization (or to employees).

Three days after the Supreme Court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that the form was an acceptable alternative to requiring retailer Hobby Lobby to provide disputed contraceptives, the court issued a temporary injunction against requiring Wheaton College from having to fill out the form.

In Wheaton College v. Burwell, the religious college in Illinois claimed that filing the form with its insurance company made it complicit in providing the contraceptives. Until the court issues a final ruling, the school merely needs to send a letter notifying the government of its position.

It is unclear whether a letter without Form 700 can compel an insurance company to offer the contraceptives at its expense.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

(Coming)

GI Bill

Originally a 1944 law (the Servicemen's Readjustment Act) to provide benefits to returning World War 2 veterans such as education and housing.

The 1984 Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) changed the education benefits. To become eligible for benefits, service members optionally pay $100 a month in their first year of service ($1,200 total). In exchange, they can receive a monthly stipend to attend college (or a vocational school) after leaving the military.

In 2008, President George W. Bush signed the Post-9/11 GI Bill. It generally provides more generous financial benefits to veterans and does not require any contribution. However, it has more restrictions than the Montgomery GI Bill (for example it cannot be used to pay for a vocational school).

Global Change Research Act (GCRA)

1990 law that directs the administration to research Climate Change.

It created the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), and tasked the program with reporting to Congress every 4 years on various impacts of climate change.

Head Start

A federal program that provides pre-school to children in low-income families.

Holman Rule

A rule of the House of Representatives allowing any representative to propose cutting any federal program or reducing any federal employee's salary to as little as $1.

The mechanism to do so would be propose an amendment to an appropriations bill. This means that even though it would require both House and Senate approval, it could avoid a filibuster in the Senate due to the budget reconciliation process.

Rep. William Holman proposed the rule in 1876 as a way to combat a system in which government jobs were given to supporters and family members of the winning party. That system was replaced by the 1882 Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, though the Holman rule had intermittently remained in the House rules until 1983.

In 1946, the Supreme Court ruled an attempt to invoke the Holman rule unconstitutional.

Housing Act

1937 law that authorized the federal government to subsidize local housing agencies to improve the conditions of low-income families.

It created the agencies merged into the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 1965.

In 1974, Section 8 of the act was amended by the Housing and Community Development Act to create Section 8 housing.

It also is referred to as the Wagner-Steagall Act.

Hyde Amendment

Conditions attached to bills appropriating money for health care that prohibit the use of federal money to pay for abortions.

Most typically, the Hyde Amendment is used in bills that appropriate money for Medicaid.

It has taken several forms since first being introduced by former Rep. Henry Hyde in 1976. In its current form it allows federal money to be used for abortions only in the case where the mother's life is at risk, or where the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest.

Here is sample text of a Hyde Amendment from the 2014 budget bill...

Johnson Amendment

1954 law that prohibits tax-exempt organizations such as churches and charities from supporting (or opposing) political candidates.

It is named after then Sen. Lyndon Johnson, who introduced the amendment.

Referenced by...
Trump: Religions should be able to endorse candidates (2017-Feb-02)

Logan Act

A law established in 1799 making it illegal for a U.S. citizen to negotiate policy with foreign governments without authorization.

The law reads...
Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply, himself or his agent, to any foreign government or the agents thereof for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects.

Referenced by...
Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI, may testify against Trump (2017-Dec-01)

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program

(Coming)

Mann Act

Law enacted in 1910 making it a felony to cross a state line with "any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose."

It has since been amended to change the purposes to prostitution or illegal sexual acts.

Military Lending Act

A series of laws intended to protect members of the Armed Forces from predatory lending practices.

2006
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 required the Department of Defense (DoD) to compile a report on predatory lending practices against members of the Armed Forces and their families, as well as their affects on service members. It also required the DoD to present a strategy to protect service members (including education) from predatory lending.
The Military Lending Act is Subtitle I (Consumer Protection Matters), Sec. 579 of the bill.

The John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 instilled actual protections for service members, including a maximum interest rate, the ability to sue a lender in court, and other significant protections.

2016
Expanded protections and the types of loans covered - including credit cards.

Referenced by...
CFBP to stop oversight of predatory lending to military members (2018-Aug-10)

National Climate Assessment

A government report on climate change and its impacts on the United States.

It is published by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) every four years.

Referenced by...
Climate report shows impacts on daily life (2018-Nov-23)

National Consumer Assistance Plan

An agreement announced in March, 2015 between the three major credit reporting agencies to make credit reports more accurate and help consumers correct errors in their credit information.

National Do Not Call Registry

A list of phone numbers that telemarketers are not allowed to call. It was implemented in 2004 as a result of the 2003 Do-Not-Call Registry Bill.

Even if you register your phone number, some calls still are permitted...

o Calls from companies you recently have purchased things from

o Calls which aren't trying to sell you something

o Calls by (or for) non-profit organizations.

The list is primarily for residential landline phones. Companies are not permitted to call mobile phones (though you still may add a mobile phone number to the list). Once you add your phone number to the list, it will remain there until you remove it or no longer have that phone number.

National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)

1935 law that protects the rights of private sector employees to form or join a union and to bargain collectively.


Graphic source: U.S. Dept. of Labor

Click on the above poster for a larger version.

Referenced by...
Court says legal system not guaranteed for workers (2018-May-21)

National School Lunch Program

A federal program that reimburses public and non-profit private schools for providing nutritionally balanced meals to children.

Children from families with incomes less than 130 percent of the federal poverty level can receive free lunches. Those from families with slightly higher incomes can receive lunch for approximately a half-dollar.

New Deal

(Coming)

ObamaCare

Name given (originally meant to be derogatory) for the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Occupational Safety and Health Act

1970 law enacted to provide a safe workplace environment for workers. It created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Organic Act

A law that establishes a U.S. territory or an agency to manage federal lands.

Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA)

1953 law the defines U.S. coastal waters and their management.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

A 2010 law that allows millions of previously uninsured Americans to obtain health care coverage. Many were unable to afford insurance, many could not obtain coverage due to an existing illness. This law is often referred to as Obamacare.

Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act

1882 law that created the Civil Service System and prohibited government jobs from being dependent on political support.

Physician Payments Sunshine Act (PPSA)

A section (6002) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) requiring drug and health care device makers to disclose money or gifts they provide to health care providers.

Health care providers also are required to disclose any ownership interests they have in these companies.

Presidential Records Act (PRA)

1978 law that governs presidential and vice presidential official records created or received after Jan. 20, 1981. It changed the official records of the president to be public records.

Regulatory Right-to-Know Act

Law enacted in 2000 directing the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to prepare an annual report of the costs and benefits of federal regulations.

Rehabilitation Act

1973 law to make workplaces more accessible to those with disabilities.

Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)

Sarbanes-Oxley Act

2002 law enacted to prevent companies from providing fraudulent information to investors.

School Lunch Program

(Coming)

Sherman Antitrust Act

Law passed in 1890 that prohibits monopolies from from being created by unfair business practices.

Referenced by...
Supreme Court: Merchants can't suggest cost-saving credit card (2018-Jun-25)

SNAP: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

A government program that helps make food affordable to those with very low incomes.

This program formerly was known as Food Stamps.

Social Security

Generally used as the term for the federal program known as the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program. It provides guaranteed payments for retirees, the disabled, and certain survivors.

It's a type of program referred to as an entitlement.

It's paid for by a separate tax on salaries...

o Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax (FICA)
o Self Employed Contributions Act tax (SECA)

These taxes are imposed only on the first $117,000 of income (in 2014). In other words, if you earn less that that, you pay the tax on your entire income. If you earn more, then you pay tax only on that amount.

Social Security Number

A nine-digit number that identifies you to the U.S. government.

Social Security numbers originally were intended to merely identify you to the Social Security Administration, but now are used to identify you to the government for everything from taxes to background checks.

They also are used by private businesses, such as insurance and credit card companies and banks.

In many cases when dealing with companies on the phone, you will be asked for "the last four digits of your social" in order to confirm your identity.

As the uses of Social Security numbers have become more widespread, the number of potential targets has increased for those trying to steal them for identity theft.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

(Coming)

Title X

1970 addition to the 1944 Public Health Service Act that funds family-planning and other preventive health services for low-income individuals.

TRICARE

Health care program for members of the United States military.

TSA PreCheck

(Coming)

Voting Rights Act

1965 law that prohibits racial discrimination in voting.

Main provisions include...

o Makes any restrictions to voting - such as a knowledge test or cost - illegal

o Jurisdictions that had used discrimination in the past can not change their voting rules without having the changes pre-cleared by the federal government.

For more, read our discussion of the law.

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