Breaking Down Proposals for Privacy Legislation: How Do They Regulate?

Breaking Down Proposals for Privacy Legislation: How Do They Regulate? Brookings Institution. Cameron F. Kerry. March 8, 2019

The “discussion drafts” of baseline privacy bills released late last year offer a glimpse of the taxonomy of issues up for debate:

  • What is the regulatory model?
  • What kinds of data are covered?
  • What sectors and what entities?
  • What rights do individuals have?
  • What obligations do businesses have in processing data?
  • How are these rights enforced—by what agency and with what powers?
  • How is pre-emption handled?

The question of the regulatory model is the keystone that overarches these and holds the rest together. Several of the draft bills present concrete signs of an emerging shift in the underlying model for privacy regulation in the current discussion, from one based on consumer choice to another focused on business behavior in handling data. This paper focuses on this key element of the taxonomy—how proposals reflect this shifting paradigm and how the change affects other aspects of privacy protection. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[HTML format, various paging].

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The Social Security Retirement Age

The Social Security Retirement Age.  Congressional Research Service. Zhe Li. March 7, 2019

The Social Security full retirement age (FRA) is the age at which workers can first claim full Social Security retired-worker benefits. Among other factors, a worker’s monthly benefit amount is affected by the age at which he or she claims benefits relative to the FRA. Benefit adjustments are made based on the number of months before or after the FRA the worker claims benefits. The adjustments are intended to provide the worker with roughly the same total lifetime benefits, regardless of when he or she claims benefits, based on average life expectancy. Claiming benefits before the FRA results in a permanent reduction in monthly benefits (to take into account the longer expected period of benefit receipt); claiming benefits after the FRA results in a permanent increase in monthly benefits (to take into account the shorter expected period of benefit receipt).

[PDF format, 14 pages].

The State and Local Role in Election Administration: Duties and Structures

The State and Local Role in Election Administration: Duties and Structures. Congressional Research Service. Karen L. Shanton. March 4, 2019

The administration of elections in the United States is highly decentralized. Elections are primarily administered by thousands of state and local systems rather than a single, unified national system.

States and localities share responsibility for most election administration duties. Exactly how responsibilities are assigned at the state and local levels varies both between and within states, but there are some general patterns in the distribution of duties. States typically have primary responsibility for making decisions about the rules of elections (policymaking). Localities typically have primary responsibility for conducting elections in accordance with those rules (implementation). Localities, with varying contributions from states, typically also have primary responsibility for paying for the activities and resources required to conduct elections (funding).

[PDF format, 22 pages].

Federal Lands and Related Resources: Overview and Selected Issues for the 116th Congress

Federal Lands and Related Resources: Overview and Selected Issues for the 116th Congress. Congressional Research Service. Katie Hoover et al. March 18, 2019

The Property Clause in the U.S. Constitution (Article IV, §3, clause 2) grants Congress the authority to acquire, dispose of, and manage federal property. The 116th Congress faces multiple policy issues related to federal lands and natural resources. These issues include how much and which land the government should own and how lands and resources should be used and managed. These issues affect local communities, industries, ecosystems, and the nation.

[PDF format, 34 pages].

An Overview of Small Business Contracting

An Overview of Small Business Contracting. Congressional Research Service. Robert Jay Dilger. March 8, 2019

Congress has broad authority to impose requirements upon the federal procurement process, that is, the process whereby agencies obtain goods and services from the private sector. One way in which Congress has exercised this authority is by adopting measures to promote contracting and subcontracting between “small businesses” and federal agencies. 

These measures, among other things, declare a congressional policy of ensuring that a “fair proportion” of federal contract and subcontract dollars is awarded to small businesses; establish government-wide and agency-specific goals for the percentage of federal contract and subcontract dollars awarded to small businesses; establish an annual Small Business Goaling Report to measure progress in meeting these goals; generally require federal agencies, under specified circumstances, to reserve contracts that have an anticipated value greater than the micro-purchase threshold (currently $10,000), but not greater than the simplified acquisition threshold (currently $250,000) exclusively for small businesses; authorize federal agencies, under specified circumstances, to set aside contracts that have an anticipated value greater than the simplified acquisition threshold exclusively for small businesses; authorize federal agencies to make sole source awards to small businesses when the award could not otherwise be made (e.g., only a single source is available, under urgent and compelling circumstances); authorize federal agencies to set aside contracts for, or grant other contracting preference to, specific types of small businesses (e.g., 8(a) small businesses, HUBZone small businesses, women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs)); and task the Small Business Administration (SBA) and other federal procurement officers with reviewing and restructuring proposed procurements to maximize opportunities for small business participation.

[PDF format, 32 pages].

Laws Affecting Students with Disabilities: Preschool through Postsecondary Education

Laws Affecting Students with Disabilities: Preschool through Postsecondary Education. Congressional Research Service. Kyrie E. Dragoo, JD S. Hsin. March 13, 2019

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) each play a significant part in federal efforts to support the education of individuals with disabilities. These statutory frameworks, while overlapping, differ in scope and in their application to students with disabilities. As a result, when students with disabilities transition between levels of schooling, the accommodations and services they must be provided under federal law may change. For example, while the IDEA, the ADA, and Section 504 potentially apply to children with disabilities from preschool through 12th grade (P-12), only the ADA and Section 504 apply to students in an institution of higher education. More generally, application of the IDEA, Section 504, and the ADA to students with disabilities is determined by (1) the definition of “disability” employed by each framework; (2) the mechanisms employed under each law to determine whether a student has a qualifying disability; and (3) the adaptations, accommodations, and services that must be provided to students with disabilities under each law.

[PDF format, 32 pages].

Market-Based Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Legislation: 108th Through 115th Congresses

Market-Based Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Legislation: 108th Through 115th Congresses. Congressional Research Service. Jonathan L. Ramseur. January 25, 2019

Congressional interest in market-based greenhouse gas (GHG) emission control legislation has fluctuated over the past 15 years. During that time, legislation has often involved market-based approaches, such as a cap-and-trade system or a carbon tax or fee program. Both approaches would place a price—directly or indirectly—on GHG emissions or their inputs (e.g., fossil fuels), both would increase the price of fossil fuels, and both would reduce GHG emissions to some degree. Both would allow emission sources to choose the best way to meet their emission requirements or reduce costs, potentially by using market forces to minimize national costs of emission reductions. Preference between the two approaches ultimately depends on which variable policymakers prefer to precisely control—emission levels or emission prices.

[PDF format, 61 pages].