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Federal Government
U.S. Supreme Court Ruling In Obamacare Case, King v. Burwell PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Friday, 26 June 2015 06:23

RALEIGH, (SGRToday.com) - On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld subsidies issued under the Affordable Care Act in states like North Carolina, which did not set up state insurance exchanges.

The vote was 6 to 3 in the case known as King v. Burwell. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion.

The opinion can be found at http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-114_qol1.pdf

Proposed Regulations Offer Guidelines for New State-Sponsored ABLE Accounts for People with Disabilities PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 25 June 2015 05:35

RALEIGH, (SGRToday.com) - The Internal Revenue Service is proposing regulations authorizing states to offer specially-designed tax-favored ABLE accounts to people with disabilities who became disabled before age 26.

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) account provision was signed into law in December 2014 with the goal of helping people with disabilities and their families pay for disability-related expenses.

According to an IRS statement, the new law authorizes any state to offer its residents the option of setting up an ABLE account. Alternatively, a state may contract with another state that offers such accounts.

More information is available at irs.gov.

Floor Schedule For U.S. House of Representatives For Wednesday, June 24, 2015 PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 24 June 2015 05:46

RALEIGH, (SGRToday.com) - Following is a schedule of activities set to occur Wednesday, June 24, 2015 in the U.S. House of Representatives.


10:00 am     Hearing: Full Committee Hearing OPM Data Breach: Part II
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform:

10:00 am     Hearing: U.S. Energy Information Administration Report: Analysis of the Impacts of the EPAs Clean Power Plan
Committee on Science, Space, and Technology: Subcommittee on Environment

10:00 am     Hearing: Review of the U.S. International Food Aid Programs
Committee on Agriculture:

10:00 am     Markup: H.R. 1927 the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2015
Committee on the Judiciary:

10:00 am     Hearing: The State of Positive Train Control Implementation in the United States
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure: Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials

10:00 am     Hearing: "Child Nutrition Assistance: Looking at the Cost of Compliance for States and Schools"
Committee on Education and the Workforce: Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education

10:00 am     Hearing: Examining the Administration's Approval of Medicaid Demonstration Projects
Committee on Energy and Commerce: Subcommittee on Health

10:00 am     Hearing: Admitting Syrian Refugees: The Intelligence Void and the Emerging Homeland Security Threat.
Committee on Homeland Security: Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence

10:15 am     Markup: Full Committee Markup - FY 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill
Committee on Appropriations: Multiple Subcommittees

10:30 am     Hearing: Oversight Hearing on "GAO Report Documents BLM’s Chronic Mismanagement of Wind and Solar Reclamation Bonds"
Committee on Natural Resources: Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

2:00 pm     Hearing: Meeting the Transportation Needs of Rural America
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure: Subcommittee on Highways and Transit

2:00 pm     Hearing: "Legislative Hearing on H.R. 2214; H.R. 1380; H.R. 2001; H.R. 2706; H.R. 2691; H.R. 303; H.R. 1338; H.R. 1302; H.R. 2605; and H.R. 1384"
Committee on Veterans' Affairs: Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs

2:00 pm     Hearing: Oversight Hearing on "Examining procedures regarding Puerto Rico’s political status and economic outlook"
Committee on Natural Resources: Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs

2:00 pm     Hearing: The Counterterrorism Strategy Against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ISIL: Are We on the Right Path?
Committee on Armed Services: Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities

2:00 pm     Hearing: DHS Efforts to Secure .Gov"
Committee on Homeland Security: Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security

GAO: Justice Department Could Better Measure Progress Of Federal Incarceration Issues PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 23 June 2015 05:47

RALEIGH, (SGRToday.com) - A review by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows the Department of Justice could enhance the measurement of initiatives designed to address major challenges in the federal prison system.

The GAO findings are below. They can be found, along with a descriptions of why GAO did the study and what it recommends, at gao.gov.

 The Department of Justice (DOJ) has implemented three key initiatives to address the federal incarceration challenges of overcrowding, rising costs, and offender recidivism, which includes the return of offenders to prison after release. The Smart on Crime Initiative involves multiple DOJ components and has five key goals, one of which involves prioritizing the prosecution of the most serious cases. The Clemency Initiative is intended to encourage federal inmates who meet criteria that DOJ established to petition to have their sentences commuted, or reduced, by the President. DOJ is now more focused on prioritizing its review of these petitions, which have increased from about 1,600 in 2011 to about 6,600 in 2014. Finally, DOJ's Bureau of Prisons (BOP) recently established a Reentry Services Division (RSD) to facilitate a more centralized approach to overseeing reentry programs and better assisting offenders in their reentry to society.

DOJ has several early efforts under way to measure the success of these initiatives, but its current approach could be enhanced. In particular:

Smart on Crime Initiative: GAO found that DOJ's 16 recently established Smart on Crime indicators were well linked to the effort's overall goals. However, in many cases, the indicators lacked other key elements of successful performance measurement systems GAO has previously identified, such as clarity and context. For example, 7 of the 16 indicators are confusing or do not represent the information the indicator name implies, and 13 of the 16 indicators lack contextual information needed to appropriately interpret their results. DOJ officials said they focused their initial indicators on data already available rather than developing new indicators. Although measuring performance can be a challenge for prosecutorial agencies such as DOJ, research indicates that improved data collection and clearly defined goals and progress measures can help agencies develop effective performance measurement systems. By exploring such options, DOJ would be better positioned to more effectively measure its efforts through the Smart on Crime Initiative.

Clemency Initiative: DOJ tracks some statistics related to its Clemency Initiative, such as the number of petitions received and the disposition of each, but it does not track how long, on average, it takes for petitions to clear each step in its review process. Such tracking would help DOJ identify processes that might be contributing to any delays. Without this tracking, DOJ cannot be sure about the extent to which the additional resources it is dedicating to this effort are helping to identify and expedite the review of inmate petitions.

Reentry programs: BOP has recently developed a plan to conduct evaluations of some of its reentry programs related to psychology treatment services, but it does not have a plan to prioritize evaluations among all 18 of the programs it lists in its national reentry directory. Modifying its current evaluation plan to consider all of these programs would better position DOJ to know the extent to which its investments in programs intended to reduce recidivism are effective.

DOJ's early efforts to implement the Smart on Crime Initiative are consistent with GAO's key collaboration best practices, such as establishing mutually reinforcing strategies. For example, DOJ directed its law enforcement components and United States Attorneys' Offices to coordinate on establishing prosecution priorities and antiviolence strategies nationwide.


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