Dozen New Executive Orders and Memoranda

The first dozen executive actions and memoranda issued by the new president are (starting with the most recent):

Border wall. In this order, President Trump states it is the policy of the United States to immediately construct a wall on the southern border. The order directs agencies to begin planning and identify funding for the project, including sending requests to Congress. It also directs agencies to construct or contract out for more detention facilities at or near the Mexican border. This order also directs the hiring of an additional 5,000 border patrol agents, subject to funding. And it requires that all agencies identify any U.S. aid funds that have gone to Mexico in the past five years. (We are still awaiting an online link and will post when it appears.)

Deportations and sanctuary cities. This is also a longer order with several major pieces (as above, no public link yet). The president has directed agencies to step up deportation of those in the country illegally. First, he prioritizes seven groups of people for deportation. It is anyone: convicted of a crime, charged with a crime, who has committed a chargeable offense, has misrepresented themselves to the government, has abused a welfare program, who is under deportation order and who may “in the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.” Second, the order also directs the hiring of 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, though it states that is subject to funding. Third, it states the U.S. policy is now to allow local law enforcement officers to act as immigration officers whenever possible. Fourth, it orders the Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security to block federal grants from so-called “sanctuary” cities which do not enforce some immigration laws.

Review manufacturing regulations. In this memorandum, the president ordered the Commerce Secretary to begin a 60-day review of regulations for American manufacturers, with the aim of finding ways to speed up permitting and all federal processes for them.

American steel in pipelines. President Trump directed the Commerce Secretary to come up with a plan to ensure that all pipelines built or repaired in the United States be constructed with American-made materials “to the maximum extent possible.”

Speeding up environmental reviews for all priority infrastructure. President Trump ordered that agencies and the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality work together to set up faster deadlines and environmental approval for “high priority” infrastructure projects. It gives significant power and responsibility to the White House Council on Environmental Quality chairman, who will decide within 30 days if a proposed project is “high priority.” (The president has not yet nominated a new CEQ chairman.)

Speeding approval of Dakota Access and Keystone Oil Pipelines. President Trump ordered that permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline be approved in an expedited manner, “including easements or rights-of-way to cross Federal areas.” (Army denial of an easement was a previous victory for pipeline opponents.) In his Keystone memorandum, Mr. Trump invited TransCanada to resubmit its application for a pipeline permit, and he directed the State Department to issue a final decision on that application within 60 days.

Federal hiring freeze. The president has told agencies they cannot fill any vacant positions nor open new ones, with two exceptions: military personnel and critical public safety positions.

TPP. This memorandum withdraws the United States from all Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and from signing the trade deal.

Abortion. President Trump has ordered that federal dollars cannot go to organizations that provide abortion services.

Regulation freeze. The president has frozen all regulations now in process (but not approved) until they are approved by him or an agency after he took office. This means any regulation signed by former President Barack Obama in his final weeks in office — including some that deal with energy efficiency standards — are on hold until they’re reviewed by Trump’s administration.

ACA rollback. Mr. Trump has allowed all agency heads to waive requirements of the Affordable Care Act to the “maximum extent permitted by law.”

President Grants Clemency to 231 Inmates, a One-Day Record

from Whitehouse.gov blog

Today, President Obama granted clemency to 231 deserving individuals — the most individual acts of clemency granted in a single day by any president in this nation’s history. With today’s 153 commutations, the President has now commuted the sentences of 1,176 individuals, including 395 life sentences. The President also granted pardons to 78 individuals, bringing his total number of pardons to 148. Today’s acts of clemency — and the mercy the President has shown his 1,324 clemency recipients — exemplify his belief that America is a nation of second chances.

chart_121916_commutations

The 231 individuals granted clemency today have all demonstrated that they are ready to make use — or have already made use — of a second chance. While each clemency recipient’s story is unique, the common thread of rehabilitation underlies all of them. For the pardon recipient, it is the story of an individual who has led a productive and law-abiding post-conviction life, including by contributing to the community in a meaningful way. For the commutation recipient, it is the story of an individual who has made the most of his or her time in prison, by participating in educational courses, vocational training, and drug treatment. These are the stories that demonstrate the successes that can be achieved — by both individuals and society — in a nation of second chances.

New GAO Transition App Allows Users to See Changes Needed Across Federal Government

from GAOgao

To help make the upcoming presidential and congressional transitions as informed as possible, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has launched a new mobile app that provides users easy access to the watchdog agency’s priority recommendations for improving government operations.

GAO has organized its work to help President-elect Donald Trump and the next Congress tackle critical challenges facing the nation, fix agency-specific problems, and scrutinize government areas with the potential for large savings,” said Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the GAO. “With our extensive experience analyzing government programs and agencies, GAO is well positioned to help bring policymakers up to speed on a wide range of pressing issues.”

Dodaro also pointed out that GAO realizes both new Presidential and Congressional personnel will have to move quickly from the campaign trail to governing. “Consequently, we’ve tried to make sure the app as directly as possible lays out quick lists of the major changes needed and allows users to navigate right to GAO’s reports for all the details.”

The app is available free of charge in the App Store® or Google Play

New Law Creates Commission on Native Children

native_american_childrenLast week President Obama signed the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act  into law.  The Commission created by this act, is tasked with the important work of undertaking a comprehensive study of Federal, State, local, and tribal programs that serve Native children, and making recommendations on how those programs could be improved.

This Commission will be housed in an office in the Department of Justice and consist of three individuals appointed by the President and eight individuals appointed by congressional leaders.

Over the past 8 years, my Administration has been committed to working closely with tribes to strengthen our nation-to-nation relationships and to forge a brighter future for all our children. During my own visits to Indian Country, I have been inspired by the talent and enthusiasm of young people who want nothing more than to make a positive difference in their communities. From the Indian Child Welfare Act to working to return control of Indian education to tribal nations, I am proud of the progress we have made over the past 8 years. I applaud the Congress, and in particular Senator Heitkamp, for the efforts that made this new law possible.

–  Barack Obama

Justice Department To Phase Out Use of Private Prisons for Federal Inmates

bopIn an effort to manage the rising prison population the Bureau of Prisons  began contracting with privately operated correctional institutions to confine some federal inmates.  By 2013, as both the federal prison population and the proportion of federal prisoners in private facilities reached their peak, the Bureau was housing approximately 15 percent of its population in privately operated prisons.

2013 was also the year that the Department of Justice launched its Smart on Crime Initiative after identifying reforms that would ensure more proportional sentences and effective use of federal resources.  As a result of that initiative, the Bureau of Prisons is now experiencing declining numbers in the prison population and has decided to stop using private prisons, declaring them less safe than government-run prisons and no cheaper to operate.

“They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security,”  – Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates

Read full memo from Deputy Yates.

 

 

Library of Congress Updates Online Catalog

Realizing that many users are now accessing their online catalog via mobile devices, the Library of Congress has released a new catalog interface.  The new interface incorporates responsive Web design, which enables optimal viewing and interaction across a wide range of devices. Responsive design provides easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling, regardless of the size of the device, from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones, tablets, etc. LC’s and is ADA-compliant, making the LC Online Catalog accessible to all users including those with disabilities.  In addition, the  Catalog now has its own branding and the Library’s Ask a Librarian service is presented prominently on every page.

loc

Library of Congress collections contain over 162 million books, periodicals, manuscripts, maps, music, recordings, images, and electronic resources. The LC Online Catalog contains 17 million records describing these collections. You can search Catalog records by keyword or browse by authors/creators, subjects, names/titles, series/uniform titles, and call numbers.

Check it out!

Stonewall Inn Named National Monument Honoring the LGBT Equality Movement

In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, a riot broke out in response to a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, at the time one of the City’s best known LGBT bars.  Over the course of the next several days, more demonstrations and riots occurred in the surrounding neighborhood including Christopher Park.  During these days, because of its strategic location across from the bar, Christopher Park served as a gathering place, refuge, and platform for the community to voice its demand for LGBT civil rights.  The Stonewall Uprising is considered by many to be the catalyst that launched the modern LGBT civil rights movement.  From this place and time, building on the work of many before, the Nation started the march — not yet finished — toward securing equality and respect for LGBT people.

I’m designating the Stonewall National Monument as the newest addition to America’s National Park System. Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights. I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country, the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us. That we are stronger together. That out of many, we are one.”

– President Obama