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Jewish World Review Jan. 9, 2002 / 24 Teves, 5762

Robert L. Haught

Robert L. Haught
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While Congress is away, look at the laws it has made -- MEMBERS of Congress are away, taking a well- deserved break from the rigors of lawmaking. Skeptics only need to look at some of the legislative actions taken the past year to be convinced our elected representatives have been hard at work.

Early in the first session of the 107th Congress, the House and Senate foresaw the dangers of anthrax. Never mind that the lawmakers were thinking about livestock when they acted "to establish a federal interagency task force for the purpose of coordinating actions to prevent the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United States" as well as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (commonly known as "mad cow disease"). That was Public Law (P.L.) 9.

And that's just one example of timely and necessary legislation. Here are others:

P.L. 26 reauthorized the Tropical Forest Conservation Act of 1998 through fiscal year 2004.

P.L. 28 directed the Interior secretary to convey a former Bureau of Land Management administrative site to the city of Carson City, Nev., for use as a senior center.

P.L. 60 adjusted the boundary of the William Howard Taft National Historic Site in the state of Ohio to authorize an exchange of land in connection with the historic site.

Much important and far-reaching legislation was written into the appropriations bills passed in 2001.

P.L. 76 authorized the Agriculture secretary to make loans to eligible horse breeders to provide assistance for losses suffered as a result of mare reproductive loss syndrome. The bill also dealt with the serious problem of foreign catfish. It states that only fish that are native to the Mississippi Delta can be marketed as catfish, thus blocking sales of Vietnamese imports.

Congress required that $1.55 million be made available under P.L. 96, the District of Columbia appropriations act, for "taxicab driver security enhancements" in D.C.

P.L. 68, appropriating funds for the legislative branch of government, authorized a payment of $8 million to finance activities of the Center for Russian Leadership Development.

A provision of the spending measure for the Treasury Department, Postal Service and Executive Office of the president stipulated that "notwithstanding any other provisions of law, a woman may breastfeed her child at any location in a federal building or on federal property, if the woman and her child are otherwise authorized to be present at the location."

New members of Congress often come under scrutiny for their level of activity in writing new laws. One such freshman is Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who introduced a total of 70 bills since taking office in January 2001. Selected at random from her record of legislative initiatives are the following:

Senate Concurrent Resolution 64, directing the architect of the Capitol to enter into a contract for the design and construction of a monument to commemorate the contributions of minority women to women's suffrage and to the participation of minority women in public life.

Senate Bill 584, to name a U.S. courthouse in New York City after the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Senate Bill 1663, to add National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day to the list of days on which the flag should especially be displayed.

And to think some cynics claim she is just using the Senate as a steppingstone to higher office.

JWR contributor Robert L. Haught is a columnist for The Oklohoman. Comment by clicking here.


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10/12/01: There's something fishy going on in the U.S. Congress
10/05/01: Lincoln had some memorable things to say about war
09/21/01: Washington's guidelines on how to tickle a terrorist
08/31/01: Two Garys, going the same road
08/24/01: Dog days are laughing matter, stories set tails wagging

© 2001, Robert L. Haught