Text: H.R.4582 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (06/06/2000)


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[Congressional Bills 106th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 4582 Introduced in House (IH)]







106th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 4582

   To provide Internet access to congressional documents, including 
  certain Congressional Research Service publications, and for other 
                               purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                              June 6, 2000

 Mr. DeMint (for himself, Mr. Canady of Florida, Mrs. Chenoweth-Hage, 
Mr. Coburn, Mr. Hill of Montana, Mr. Metcalf, Mr. Salmon, Mr. Sanford, 
Mr. Tancredo, and Mr. Toomey) introduced the following bill; which was 
           referred to the Committee on House Administration

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
   To provide Internet access to congressional documents, including 
  certain Congressional Research Service publications, and for other 
                               purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Citizen Legislature Empowerment 
through Access to Resources (CLEAR) Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS; PURPOSE.

    (a) Findings.--Congress finds that--
            (1) an informed electorate is the most precious asset of 
        any democracy;
            (2) it is often burdensome, difficult, and time-consuming 
        for citizens to obtain timely access to records of the 
        Congress;
            (3) it is also challenging for Members and committees of 
        Congress to provide timely access to current records of 
        Congress through websites maintained by Congress;
            (4) congressional documents which are placed in the 
        Congressional Record are made available to the public 
        electronically by the Superintendent of Documents under the 
        direction of the Public Printer;
            (5) other congressional documents are also made available 
        electronically on websites maintained by Members and committees 
        of Congress;
            (6) a wide range of records of Congress remain inaccessible 
        to the public;
            (7) the public should have easy and timely access, 
        including electronic access, to records of the Congress; and
            (8) Congress should use new technologies to enhance public 
        access to records and other important information of the 
        Congress.
    (b) Purposes.--The purposes of this Act are--
            (1) to foster democracy by ensuring public access to 
        records of Congress;
            (2) to improve public access to records of Congress;
            (3) to enhance the electronic public access, including 
        access through the Internet, to records of Congress; and
            (4) to further enhance the education of citizens and 
        encourage their participation in the government of their 
        country.

SEC. 3. AVAILABILITY OF CERTAIN CRS INFORMATION.

    (a) Availability of Information.--
            (1) In general.--The Director of the Congressional Research 
        Service shall make available through a centralized electronic 
        database, for the purpose of Members and committees providing 
        access and retrieval by the public as described in section 4, 
        all information described in paragraph (2) which is available 
        through the Congressional Research Service website.
            (2) Information to be made available.--The information to 
        be made available under paragraph (1) is as follows:
                    (A) Congressional Research Service Issue Briefs.
                    (B) Congressional Research Service Reports which 
                are available to Members of Congress through the 
                Congressional Research Service website.
                    (C) Congressional Research Service Authorization of 
                Appropriations Products and Appropriations Products.
            (3) Rule of construction.--Nothing in this subsection shall 
        be construed to require the Director to make available under 
        this subsection any document or other information which is 
        prepared by the Congressional Research Service solely in 
        response to a research request of an individual, office, or 
        committee for the exclusive use of such individual, office, or 
        committee.
    (b) Limitations.--
            (1) Confidential information.--Subsection (a) does not 
        apply to any information which is confidential, as determined 
        by--
                    (A) the Director; or
                    (B) the head of the Federal department or agency 
                which provided the information to the Congressional 
                Research Service.
            (2) Redaction and revision.--In carrying out this section, 
        the Director of the Congressional Research Service may--
                    (A) remove from the information required to be made 
                available under subsection (a) the name and phone 
                number of, and any other information regarding, an 
                employee of the Congressional Research Service;
                    (B) remove from the information required to be made 
                available under subsection (a) any material for which 
                the Director determines that making it available under 
                subsection (a) may infringe the copyright of a work 
                protected under title 17, United States Code; and
                    (C) make any changes in the information required to 
                be made available under subsection (a) that the 
                Director determines necessary to ensure that the 
                information is accurate and current.
    (c) Time.--The Director of the Congressional Research Service shall 
make available all information required under this section in a timely 
and prompt manner.
    (d) Manner.--The Director of the Congressional Research Service 
shall make information required to be made available under this section 
in a manner which--
            (1) is practical and reasonable; and
            (2) does not permit the submission of comments from the 
        public.

SEC. 4. METHOD OF ACCESS.

    (a) In General.--Public access to information made available under 
this Act shall be provided through the websites maintained by Members 
and committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The 
Director of the Congressional Research Service shall work with the 
Chief Administrative Officer of the House of Representatives and the 
Sergeant at Arms of the Senate to carry out this subsection.
    (b) Editorial Responsibility for CRS Reports Online.--The Director 
of the Congressional Research Service is responsible for maintaining 
and updating the information made available on the Internet under 
section 3, and shall have sole discretion to edit that information 
under this Act.
    (c) Further Approval Not Required.--Notwithstanding any other 
provision of law, the Director of the Congressional Research Service 
shall make available the information required to be made available 
under section 3 to Members and committees of Congress for the purposes 
described in this Act without the prior approval of the Committee on 
Rules and Administration of the Senate, the Committee on House 
Administration of the House of Representatives, or the Joint Committee 
on Printing.

SEC. 5. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.

    Nothing in this Act may be construed--
            (1) to modify the role of the Congressional Research 
        Service as an institution whose mission is to provide service 
        to Congress and not to persons outside of Congress; or
            (2) to infringe on the constitutional protections provided 
        for the work product of the Congressional Research Service 
        which enable the Service to fulfill its mission of serving 
        Congress.

SEC. 6. SENSE OF CONGRESS REGARDING COMMITTEE MATERIALS.

    It is the sense of Congress that each standing and special 
committee of the House of Representatives and Senate and each joint 
committee of Congress, in accordance with such rules as the committee 
may adopt, should provide access to the public through the Internet to 
publicly available committee information, documents, and proceedings, 
including bills, reports, and transcripts of committee meetings which 
are open to the public.
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