Category Archives: Dot Gov

November is Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month. Check out these resources for Native American Law:

UC Hastings American Indian Research Guide lists primary and secondary resources available in the UC Hastings library.

Scout Report : Native American resources lists many website with information for American Indian Research.

Cornel LII: American Indian Law provides summaries of the law and important primary and secondary resources.

The National American Indian Library provides primary law, news bulletins, and topic-based research.

Environmental Protection Agency: Water Science

The EPA’s Water Science page contains scientific information and innovative technologies provided by researchers working in support of the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act. You can learn through articles, statistical data and guides about issues ranging from air and water quality to health and safety and green living; look at science and technology related to various subject areas such as waste cleanup, climate change and toxic cleanups; and examine laws and regulations and their enforcement. 

USASpending.gov

Launched in 2007, USAspending.gov is designed to help the public track federal spending. It establish a single searchable website, accessible to the public at no cost, which includes details for each Federal award received, including: 1. The name of the entity receiving the award; 2. The amount of the award; 3. Information on the award including transaction type, funding agency, etc; 4. The location of the entity receiving the award; and 5. A unique identifier of the entity receiving the award. Prime award information shown on the website is provided by Federal Agencies.

New and Improved California Legislative History Website

Leginfo.ca.gov has long been a go-to source for free California legislative information, including the legislative calendar, legislative history information, bill updates, as-enacted statutes, and up-to-date California codes.  A new version of the website is now available at http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.  The new site includes some great new features, including a “Today’s Law as Amended” feature that identifies textual differences between existing law and proposed law, new search functionality for bill and code searches, cross-referencing between code sections and chaptered bills, and an improved bill subscription service that allows you to track bills throughout the legislative session. To date, it only includes bill information since 1999, so to find legislative history information for bills going back to 1993, you’ll need to use the old site.

Bill Tracking

Want to keep track of the status of a bill as it progresses through the California and federal legislatures?  For California bills, you can view the current status of a bill at http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.  Let’s say, for example, that you want to track the status of Assembly Bill 48, which, among other things, would ban conversion kits for creating large-capacity ammunition magazines.  To track this bill, you would click on the “Bill Information” link at the top of the homepage, then enter the bill number (48), select the session year (2013-2014), and then select the legislative house (Assembly).  Your search takes you to a page with tabs for the full text of the bill, the voting record, the bill history, analyses, a mark-up showing how the bill would affect current law, and status information.  If you click on the status information tab, it lists the last 5 actions related to the bill. If you want to be notified whenever there’s a new action, just click on the “Track Bill” link at the top of the page.  Login with your email and password (registration is free), and choose the “notification points” you’d like to track – when the measure is referred to committee, when it’s amended, when it’s enrolled, etc.

Want to track a federal bill such as H.R. 138, which would also ban large-capacity ammunition magazines?  Use www.govtrack.us.  Enter “H.R. 138” in the search box, then click on the link for H.R. 13: Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act.  The site includes a link to the bill text, lists the bill’s latest cosponsors, and lists the latest action on the bill.  To receive email updates,  select how often you want to track this bill (daily or weekly) and click the “save” button.  Again, registration is quick, easy, and free.

Committee Caller

Have you ever wanted to call the member of a congressional committee to let them know your views on a piece of pending legislation? If so, then you know it can be daunting to find out the composition of the committee, and the correct contact information for each member. But all that has changed, thanks to the web site, Committee Caller. The site has been set up using an open source Asterisk PBX system to connect you to every senator or house member on a particular committee.
Just go to the website, select a committee or subcommittee, enter your phone number and click “Put me in touch with democracy!” You’ll be called by their system and sequentially patched through to the front office of each member on that committee. If you want to add to the web site’s informational database on accountability, you can even rate how each call went.

USASpending.gov

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 mandated a user-friendly, searchable database of most federal spending , and the result, USASpending.gov, went live today. The White House budget office is responsible for publishing the web site, which shows taxpayers where their dollars go and which legislators, contractors and regions get the most.
The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 was sponsored by Senators Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). The site was created by Robert Shea, associate director of the Office of Management and Budget. It was modeled on a site pioneered by Gary Bass, director of OMB Watch, which has been a harsh critic of the budget office. You can search the site by contracts and grants, contractor names, congressional districts and lawmakers. It is easy to download data, and there are charts and rankings show who gets the most money. The site will be updated every two weeks even though the law only requires updating every month.

New Report on the Cost of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

There is a recently published report by the Joint Economic Committee Majority Staff, titled War at Any Price: The Total Economic Costs of the War Beyond the Federal Budget. The press release about the report, dated November 13, 2007, states:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) will join Joint Economic Committee (JEC) Chairman Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), and JEC Vice Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) [today [and release ] a new report exposing the hidden costs of the war in Iraq. The Joint Economic Committee report investigates the costs of the war in Iraq that are not included in direct budgetary appropriations, including long term veteran’s health care, foregone investment, oil market disruptions and interest payments on borrowed war funding. The JEC estimates these costs could total in the trillions of dollars.

There were some errors in the report that were “quietly corrected”, a Republican press report noted.
Here are some of the individual charts on the costs:
The American Family Will Bear Heavy Burden to Pay for Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
With No Change in Course, Total Costs Incurred per Family Reach Almost $50,000 by 2017
The Projected Interest Costs of Iraq War Alone are Higher than
the Cost of Children’s Health Program and Health Research and Training

Taxpayer Spending on Iraq War vs. Federal Spending on Other Priorities