(Senate - October 21, 1996)

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[Pages S12451-S12455]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


 Mr. HEFLIN. Mr. President, as the end of the 104th Congress 
was drawing to a close, I began making a series of speeches summarizing 
my activities and legislative efforts relating to some of the major 
policy issue areas facing our Nation. My purpose was to reflect upon 
and generally summarize my three terms in the Senate, pointing out 
progress, key accomplishments, disappointments, and suggestions for the 
future. So far, I have focused on the areas of civil rights and 
national defense and foreign policy. Here, I will devote some attention 
to my role as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  Much of my statement on civil rights issues focused on activities 
within the Judiciary Committee, since these issues often arise in the 
context of court cases and nominations. I will reiterate some of that 
material here, but will focus more on court reform and the 
administration of justice, issues which were not discussed at length in 
that statement on civil rights.
  While serving as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, my 
primary goal was to modernize the State's system of justice. The 
backlog of cases when I came into office was staggering, so we set out 
immediately to pass reform of the judicial article, which is the part 
of the State constitution outlining the State judiciary. During my 
term, we were successful in getting the people to adopt a new article 
to the State's constitution in the form of a constitutional amendment 
which was known as the new judicial article and in getting the State 
legislature to pass a judicial article implementation bill, which some 
say became a model for the Nation. I was extremely proud of our efforts 
and of the many hundreds of people who came together to make it happen. 
I saw first-hand that State courts can be made more efficient and 
citizens' access to the courts increased.
  Upon arriving in the Senate, I quickly saw that much of the reform we 
accomplished at the State level was needed at the Federal level. Much 
of my work on the Judiciary Committee has focused on bringing these 
reforms to the Federal court system. As a member, chairman, and ranking 
member of the subcommittee overseeing the courts and judicial 
administration, I have had the opportunity to seek many much-needed 
improvements in the administration of justice. Since judicial 
administration is so important to access to the judicial system, it is 
my firm belief that efficient administration is a necessary component 
of swift and sure justice for all those who seek it.
  Since time and space will not permit me to be as comprehensive in 
summarizing these various issues as I would like, I ask unanimous 
consent that a summary listing of legislation I have introduced, 
cosponsored, or directly shaped in some way be included in the 
Congressional Record after my remarks. However, I would like to 
summarize some of the highlights in these areas.
  One of the major efforts was in the area of bankruptcy reform. 
Passage of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1994 brought to a close nearly 
5 years of work in this area. Over these several years, we were able to 
produce the first major substantive change in the Bankruptcy Code since 
1984. We successfully streamlined and updated the code.
  The need for a major reform of the code became apparent with the 
record increases in bankruptcy filings the courts had been 
experiencing. There was a need for changes in the code which recognized 
the changes in the economy and different types of financial arrangement 
faced by consumers and businesses.
  Our act addressed virtually all aspects of bankruptcy, including 
provisions which made significant and important changes to the 
bankruptcy process in our Federal courts. Also included were provisions 
which streamlined the process for the individual consumer debtor 
through the encouragement of the use of chapter 13 repayment bankruptcy 
provisions. The commercial bankruptcy process and procedure was also 
addressed. I am particularly proud that a Bankruptcy Review Commission 
was set up to review and study the laws and process related to 
bankruptcy filings. Overall, these reforms have led to a more effective 
and workable process.
  In the 96th Congress, I introduced a bill to divide the Fifth Circuit 
Court of Appeals into two courts. Its main purpose was to promote 
judicial efficiency. Individual judges in the fifth circuit were 
severely burdened by an excessively large caseload. Furthermore, the 
entire court had accrued the largest en blanc caseload in U.S. judicial 
history. The measure splitting the circuit and creating the 11th 
Circuit Court of Appeals was signed into law in October 1980.

  In the 97th Congress, I was a cosponsor of the Omnibus Victims 

[[Page S12452]]

Act of 1982, which provided additional protection and assistance to 
victims and witnesses in Federal cases. I was also proud to have been a 
moving force in the establishment of a State Justice institute in 1984 
during the 98th Congress, and in the passage of an act amending title 
18 of the United States Code to ban the production and use of 
advertisements for child pornography or solicitations for child 
pornography. This became law in November 1986, at the end of the 99th 
  I have always been firmly committed to measures which ensure the free 
and open exercise of religion. In 1988, during the 100th Congress, an 
act to impose criminal penalties and to provide a civil action for 
damage to religious property and for injury to persons in the free 
exercise of religious beliefs was passed by Congress and signed into 
law. Later, in the 103d Congress, my subcommittee held hearings on 
proposed Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC] guidelines 
which many felt would have adversely affected Federal workers' rights 
to express their religious beliefs in the workplace. Ultimately, we 
were successful in preventing these guidelines from taking effect. This 
year, in the wake of the rash of church burnings in the South, I 
strongly supported the legislation to increase penalties for those 
convicted of destroying houses of worship through arson.
  During the 101st Congress, I was extremely proud of being a cosponsor 
of a comprehensive act containing three major parts. One was the Civil 
Justice Reform Act, which required selected U.S. courts to implement 
expense and delay reduction plans. A second part was the Federal 
judgeships Act, which created 85 new judgeships, thereby streamlining 
efficiency. The third major part of this act was the Federal Courts 
Study Committee Implementation Act, which put into place a number of 
the committee's recommendations. The act, which became Public Law 101-
650 on December 1, 1990, also contained provisions dealing with 
television violence, computer software rental, judicial discipline, and 
the rights of visual artists.
  One of the proudest achievements of my career occurred during the 
102nd Congress, with the passage of my bill to name a Federal building 
in Montgomery, AL, after Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr. Judge Johnson, one 
of the greatest jurists to have ever served on the Federal bench, did 
so much to promote racial progress in Alabama and the rest of the South 
that I could think of no more fitting tribute to honor his work and 
service. It became law on March 20, 1992. A new Federal courthouse was 
built in Birmingham and later named the Hugo Black Courthouse and the 
Montgomery courthouse is now being expanded.
  That same year, the Federal Courts Administration Act of 1992 was 
signed into law (P.L. 102-572, October 29, 1992). This law encompassed 
four bills I sponsored: the Federal Courts Study Committee 
Implementation Act, the Judicial Survivors' Annuities Improvements Act, 
the State Justice Institute Reauthorization Act, and the Court of 
Claims Technical and Procedural Improvements Act. It also contained a 
provision cosponsored by myself and Senator Grassley which created a 
new civil cause of action in Federal court for victims of international 

  I supported the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 
1994, which, among other things, provided funding for 100,000 policemen 
for communities all across the Nation. While there were several 
provisions in this bill with which I strongly disagreed, on balance, 
its good provisions far outweighed its bad. I saw it as a positive and 
comprehensive effort to stop the onslaught of crime and drugs in our 
  Of course, there have been disappointments over the years, such as 
the failure to pass a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning and 
one to require a balanced Federal budget. I and many others in Congress 
worked long and hard to pass these measures, and they came close in the 
most recent 104th Congress. I think especially in terms of the balanced 
budget amendment, that we will ultimately be successful. I will 
continue doing all in my power as a private citizen to see that these 
amendments are added to our Constitution.
  Much of my time and energy in the 104th Congress was spent on a bill 
to establish an independent Court of Administrative Law Judges. I have 
always thought it absurd that Federal agencies were allowed to judge 
cases involving themselves and outside parties. How can a ``judge'', 
employed by the agency he is serving, be expected to decide cases 
fairly and impartially? The bureaucrats fought this proposal 
tenaciously, and again, we were unsuccessful. We did, however, come 
closer in 1996 than ever before, and I remain hopeful that the next 
Congress will see the wisdom of ensuring independence in Federal 
administrative law.
  Another item which ultimately failed in the 104th Congress was 
comprehensive regulatory reform. I joined with Senators Dole and 
Johnston in seeking to provide a cost-benefit analysis in terms of 
certain regulations whose economic impact exceeded $100 million. 
Regulatory reform should remain at the top of the congressional agenda.
  One issue on which its opponents, including myself, were successful 
on was in preventing product liability reform from passing. So-called 
product liability reform legislation was billed as an effort to rein in 
errant juries and limit excessive awards to plaintiffs. While I do 
support tort reform, I believe it should be done at the State level and 
without weakening the jury system. The right of trial by jury is one of 
the most sacred rights we have as Americans, and nothing should be done 
to limit that right or restrict a citizen's access to the judicial 
system. The federalized product liability reform bills contained many 
provisions which would have immunized many tortfeasors in a manner 
which was grossly unfair. This type of legislation should continue to 
be defeated so that our jury system--imperfect as it may be--remains 
strong and the bulwark of our system of justice.
  In 1979, I convinced members of the Judiciary Committee to kill the 
court annexed arbitration bill, which would force parties in personal 
injury, property, and contract cases under $100,000 to submit to 
mandatory arbitration in Federal court. I believed this bill was 
unconstitutional because it would deny the guarantee of a jury trial 
and the constitutional right of access to justice. An arbitration bill 
which doesn't penalize a party from seeking a trail de novo will go a 
long way toward minimizing the faults of the proposal.
  In 1979, Congress passed an amended Federal Magistrates bill, which 
became Public Law 96-82. When it was first introduced, I criticized it 
as the third piece of a haphazard modification to the system in 10 
years. Rather than amending it piecemeal, lawmakers should study and 
approach the whole system.
  In 1979, we passed a law, Public Law 96-43, to amend the Speedy Trial 
Act of 1974 in order to limit the delay from charge to trial in the 
Federal courts to no more than 100 days.
  In 1979, I opposed the Illinois Brick bill. After studying the case 
carefully, I concluded that Justice Byron White had issued a correct 
decision. I was fearful that if this legislation were adopted, class 
action antitrust cases would completely occupy the time of Federal 
judges and require a many-fold increase in the number of Federal judges 
in a short time.
  In 1979, when it passed the judiciary committee, I called the Equal 
Access to Justice Act one of the best pieces of legislation I have 
seen. The bill would have allowed citizens whom the Government had 
taken to court unjustifiably or who contested unreasonable regulations 
to recover attorney fees. In other words, if a citizen is proven right, 
he doesn't have to pay for justice. The House never acted on this bill. 
But in 1985, Congress passed Public Law 99-80, similar to the Equal 
Access to Justice Act. This law allowed local governments, individuals, 
and small businesses to collect attorneys' fees if they won cases 
against Federal agencies.
  In 1979, Congress passed the Justice System Improvement Act, Public 
Law 96-157, to reauthorize the Law Enforcement Assistance 
Administration. This bill created the Office of Justice Assistance, 
Research and Statistics [OJARS] which would coordinate the 
administration of the LEAA and two other, new agencies, the Bureau of 
Justice Statistics [BJS] and the National Institute of Justice [NIJ]. I 
had become a strong supporter of the LEAA during

[[Page S12453]]

my tenure as the chief justice of the supreme court. In Alabama, our 
police and sheriff departments had been largely underfunded, 
undermanned, undertrained and unprofessional, but with the LEAA's help, 
they developed into well-disciplined and professional organizations. 
Unfortunately, the LEAA died in 1980 during budget debate.
  In 1980, the Congress passed a bill to create the 11th U.S. Circuit 
Court of Appeals, which became Public Law 96-452. The old 
Fifth Circuit, which comprised six States, had become so overburdened 
that it could no longer handle its caseload. In fact, its en banc 
caseload was the largest in the country. We did have a great concern in 
the Congress about the implications of the split to civil rights, since 
this court generally handled the most important civil rights cases. 
Judge Frank Johnson served as an excellent advisor for the Court to 
ensure that the Congress handled the split with care.

  In 1980, the Senate passed a bill calling for a ``State of the 
Judiciary'' speech by the Chief Justice. Congress as a whole largely 
ignores the third branch until some crisis situation demands that we 
provide additional Federal judges or implement some reorganization. 
This idea has not yet materialized into law, but I still think it is a 
good plan.
  In 1980, I introduced another bill to create a National Court of 
Appeals to relieve the overburdened Supreme Court. During 1979, the 
Court heard less than 7 percent of the cases before it. This bill never 
passed either, but in the future, the Congress must arrive at some 
solution to the overwhelming caseload of the Court.
  In 1982, we introduced legislation to amend Federal habeas corpus 
procedures by restricting the power of the Federal courts to review and 
overturn State criminal convictions. There is a crying need to achieve 
finality in our criminal justice system and to protect the integrity of 
the State judiciary. I had also included certain provisions regarding 
habeas corpus procedures in my Federal court study implementation bill. 
The Republican 104th Congress passed some provisions relating to habeas 
corpus reform, but it contained a number of questionable provisions.
  Provisions to create a State Justice Institute, which I had first 
introduced in 1980, became part of Public Law 98-620. Specifically, 
with the Institute, we sought to provide education for judges and 
officers of the courts of the States as well as sound proceedings for 
managing and monitoring caseloads, and improvement of access to 
justice. Hoping to adhere to the doctrine of federalism and separation 
of powers, we designed the Institute to assure strong and effective 
State courts, and thereby improve the quality of justice available to 
the American people. These ends were all the more important since 
recently enacted Federal laws, including the speedy trial act, had 
increased the cases sent to State courts.
  This law also amended title 28, United States Code, with respect to 
the places where court shall be held in certain judicial districts. It 
also included several other provisions. The first established an 
Intercircuit Tribunal. The second clarified the circumstances under 
which a trademark may be canceled or abandoned. The last pertained to 
the authority of the special counsel.
  In 1980, Congress passed a bill to cut costs and delays in antitrust 
trials. This bill became Public Law 96-349.
  In 1980, the Congress passed a bill to create a U.S. Court of 
International Trade and to reform the judiciary machinery relating to 
trade. This bill became Public Law 96-417.
  In 1980, the Congress passed a bill to make certain that Federal 
courts hear all cases under their jurisdiction. Before this bill 
passed, the amount in controversy determined whether or not a Federal 
court would hear any given case. This bill became Public Law 96-486.
  In 1982, Congress created the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal 
Circuit. A new law, Public Law 97-164, combined the U.S. Court of 
Customs and Patent Appeals and the U.S. Court of Claims. The new court 
had the same authority as the other 12 U.S. Circuits, but its 
jurisdiction was national, rather than regional, and determined by 
subject matter.
  During hearings in the 96th Congress, I declared that it was time to 
declare a war on crime, and in the following Congress I introduced a 
number of measures I hoped might effectively reduce it. Elements of my 
package became law over the years immediately following. Public Law 97-
285 set penalties for crimes against cabinet officers, Supreme Court 
Justices, and Presidential staff members. Public Law 97-291 created 
additional protections for and assistance to victims and witnesses in 
Federal cases. Public Law 98-127 dealt with tampering, as in the case 
of the Tylenol murders. Public Law 98-292 was designed to fight the 
sexual exploitation of children. Public Law 98-305 criminalized the 
robbery of a controlled substance.
  In October 1984, several other elements of my war on crime package 
became Public Law 98-473. This law included the Justice Assistance Act 
to provide aid to State law enforcement, after the model of the defunct 
LEAA. It provided for victims' compensation. The law also included 
mandatory sentencing for use of firearms in a Federal crime, and other 
sentencing guidelines including the creation of a sentencing commission 
to establish standards for punishment in Federal crimes. Further, it 
provided for Federal prosecution of murders-for-hire, drug trafficking, 
pharmacy robbery, labor racketeering, computer fraud, and assaults on 
Federal officials. Last, the law included provisions which shifted the 
burden of proof in the insanity defense to the defendant. The Hinckley 
acquittal inspired this language. However, the act contained some 
questionable provisions which I opposed.
  In 1984, Congress passed a bill to amend the Clayton Act, relating to 
antitrust laws, as it applied to local governments.
  In 1984, Congress, passed Public Law 98-547 to fight auto thefts in 
which the criminals stripped and sold the vehicle as spare parts. The 
law required identifying numbers on the major parts.
  In 1985, we extended the deadline for the sentencing commission, 
created by Public Law 98-473, to finalize its guidelines. 
This extension was included in Public Law 99-417. Another law, Public 
Law 99-22, made minor changes to the commission.

  In 1985, we passed another law, Public Law 99-218, regarding the 
Supreme Court Police and its authority to protect the Justices and 
officers of the Court.
  In 1986, we passed Public Law 99-303 to fight sexual molestation in 
Indian Country.
  In 1986, we reformed Federal justice and judges survivors' annuities 
with Public Law 99-336.
  That year, we also amended the False Claims Act with Public Law 99-
562 to strengthen enforcement provisions for making false claims to the 
Federal Government. This bill also included protections for 
whistleblowers, something that we had worked on for a long time. In our 
view, these protections were particularly important in preventing 
Government waste, in the Defense Department, and in other areas.
  In 1986, we banned advertisements for child pornography with Public 
Law 99-628.
  In 1986, Congress improved the delivery of legal services to 
indigents with Public Law 99-651.
  In 1987, Congress passed Public Law 100-236 to amend the laws 
governing multiple appeals filed on orders from Federal agencies. Until 
that time, lawyers frequently filed appeals in different courthouses in 
order to draw a judge they thought would be favorable to their case. 
The new laws allow 10 days to appeal an order, and created a lottery 
system for selection of the judge if multiple appeals were filed.
  In 1987, I introduced legislation to change the administrative law 
system. Congress has considered this language several times since, but 
it has not yet passed a bill. Administrative Law Judges are employed 
and housed by the agencies they oversee. This system represents a clear 
conflict of interest. I believe that judges must, instead, be 
independent, and for this reason I sought to create an independent 
corps of administrative law judges. I strongly recommend that Congress 
address the problem in the future.
  In 1988, Congress passed the Permanent Federal Court Study Act, which 
I had originally introduced during 1980 as part of a package which had 
included the unsuccessful National Court of Appeals. The Federal court 
study committee language became part of

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Public Law 100-702. We designed the Federal court study committee to 
plan for the long range needs of the judiciary. I believe that reform 
must keep costs in mind, and it must avoid a careless, band-aid 
approach. These two conditions are required if we are to maintain 
public confidence in the judicial system.
  Public Law 100-702 also included other significant provisions. It 
raised jurisdictional authority in Federal diversity cases from $10,000 
to $50,000. It also reauthorized the State Justice Institute, created 
pilot programs of voluntary court-annexed arbitration, resolved 
district court jurisdictions under the Tucker Act, established methods 
of adopting recommendations of the Judicial Conference, and reformed 
jury selection. In a letter addressed to me, Chief Justice Rehnquist 
called the bill ``probably the most significant measure affecting the 
operation and administration of the Federal Judiciary to be considered 
by the Congress in over a decade.'' Rehnquist also wrote that passage 
of the bill ``with its many and varied provisions to improve different 
aspects of the judicial system, will significantly enhance the 
effectiveness of the Federal Judiciary as a whole.''
  In 1988, Congress passed another bill which had been part of the 1980 
package which ultimately became Public Law 100-702. This bill gave the 
Supreme Court greater discretion in selection of its cases. This 
language took 8 years to pass, but it finally became part of Public Law 
  In 1988, the Congress passed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, which 
became Public Law 100-690. This new law included the creation of a drug 
czar, which had been eliminated from my 1984 crime package. This new 
law also included the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Partnership Act and 
the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act.
  In 1988, Congress passed a new law, Public Law 100-694, to protect 
Federal employees from the threat of lawsuits based on their work 
performance. The bill was designed to overturn the 1988 Supreme Court 
decision, Westfall versus Erwin.
  In 1988, we passed Public Law 100-700 to make it a crime to knowingly 
defraud or attempt to defraud the Government in contracts of $1 million 
or more.
  I strongly supported a constitutional amendment to ban flagburning in 
the late 1980's, and I spent a great deal of time on it in the most 
recent Congress.
  In 1990, Congress authorized the appointment of 74 new U.S. district 
and 11 new U.S. circuit judges with Public Law 101-650. Importantly, 
this new law also incorporated the Judicial Discipline Reform Act to 
improve procedures for disciplining Federal judges, and to establish a 
National Commission on Judicial Discipline. The final language to 
discipline judges short of impeachment was the culmination of years of 
work that had included a proposed constitutional amendment. I had also 
proposed another constitutional amendment in 1988 to reform the actual 
impeachment proceedings, which had proven themselves to be cumbersome.
  Public Law 101-650 contained some other miscellaneous provisions. The 
law also contained language to address television violence by removing 
from antitrust laws any cooperation within the industry to reduce it. 
The law included provisions to deal with computer software copyright 
laws. This bill also contains S. 1198, the Visual Artists Rights Act, 
which gives creators of certain artistic visual works the right to 
prevent modification or destruction of their work.

  In 1992, Congress passed the Administrative Procedure Technical 
Amendments Act, Public Law 102-354, to make technical corrections to 
Chapter 5 of title 5, U.S.C. This law also amended the Alternative 
Dispute Resolution Act (Public Law 101-552) to authorize Federal 
agencies to resolve disputes between two other parties.
  In 1992, Congress passed the ``Dead-Beat Dad'' bill. This became 
Public Law 102-521.
  In 1992, Congress passed the Federal Courts Administration Act of 
1992, which became Public Law 102-572. This law was actually a 
conglomerate of several bills. It codified certain recommendations of 
the Federal Courts Study Committee, which I believe had turned out to 
be a valuable experiment. It reformed the judicial survivors' annuities 
system. It reauthorized the State Justice Institute for fiscal years 
1993-1996. It altered the claims litigation procedure before a newly 
renamed U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Public Law 102-572 also included 
language Senator Grassley and I wrote in order to create a new civil 
cause of action in Federal court for victims of international 
  In 1992, Congress passed a bill to authorize the Juvenile Justice and 
Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974. This legislation became Public Law 
  With Public Law 103-192, Congress extended pilot arbitration programs 
in 20 district courts for one year.
  Public Law 103-420 reauthorized 10 mandatory and 10 voluntary court 
annexed arbitration pilot programs, and authorized the judiciary 
automation fund. It also extended the deadline for the Rand Corp.'s 
study of civil litigation.
  Public Law 103-305 changed the rules on the EEOC's guidelines 
regarding religious harassment in the workplace. With this law, we 
sought to allow personal expressions of religious belief, which until 
that time had been prohibited. Similar language had stalled in the 102d 
Congress due to abortion controversies.


  Our work in the Senate significantly affected the language in Public 
Law 96-56. This bill (H.R. 2807) originated in the House to amend the 
Bankruptcy Act to prohibit the discharge of federally insured or 
guaranteed student loans until 5 years after graduation. The Bankruptcy 
Reform Act (Public Law 95-598) had repealed this prohibition until the 
first day of fiscal year 1980, but Congress filled the gap with H.R. 
2807. Specifically, before we attached our amendment in the Senate, the 
bill would only have covered loans repayable directly to the Federal 
Government or to a nonprofit educational institution.

  In 1984, we passed a much more significant bankruptcy measure to 
bring Federal bankruptcy courts in line with the Supreme Court's 
Marathon decision. This bill became Public Law 98-353. With Marathon, 
the Court ruled that 1978 bankruptcy law was unconstitutional because 
the bankruptcy judges, who are not appointed for life, should not have 
the same authority as other judges. The bill put bankruptcy under the 
jurisdiction of the district courts, but gave the article I bankruptcy 
judges the power to hear these cases. With this law, we averted the 
need to appoint 200 new article III judges for life.
  Notably, with this bankruptcy legislation, we also sought to protect 
farmers, catfish growers, and shrimpers who lost their crops in a 
processing or storage facility which went bankrupt. Further, the 
legislation was designed to prevent drunk drivers from escaping their 
liability through bankruptcy laws.
  Passage of this bill took time, however, and under the Marathon 
decision, the extant system would collapse--leaving half a million 
unheard cases. For this reason, until the major bill became law, we 
needed to extend the temporary arrangement twice. We accomplished the 
extension with Public Law 98-249 and Public Law 98-271.
  Another bankruptcy law which passed in 1984, Public Law 98-531, 
clarified laws on retirement for bankruptcy judges.
  In 1986, the Congress passed another major bankruptcy law. This law, 
Public Law 99-554, provided for the appointment of 52 additional 
bankruptcy judges. The law also allowed for the appointment of trustees 
under the Department of Justice to handle the administration of 
bankruptcy cases. Last, the bill paid special attention to small 
farmers who went bankrupt and included language to help them avoid 
  Two other bankruptcy bills became law in 1987. Public Law 100-99 
pertained to protections under title 11. Public Law 100-202 included 
language to specify salaries for magistrates and bankruptcy judges.
  There were four more bankruptcy bills which became law in 1988. The 
first clarified laws pertaining to insurance benefits under the 
bankruptcy code for retirees. It became Public Law 100-334. A second 
authorized additional bankruptcy judges in Colorado, Kansas,

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Texas, Alaska, and Kentucky. This bill became Public Law 100-587. A 
third clarified the bankruptcy laws as they applied to municipalities, 
including changes to the laws governing their bond issues for public 
works. It became Public Law 100-597. Last, Congress passed legislation 
to provide for retirement and survivors' annuity for bankruptcy judges 
and magistrates, etc. This bill became Public Law 100-569.
  In 1990, we passed a bill to clarify the laws governing swap 
agreements and forward contracts. It became Public Law 101-311.
  That year, Congress also passed a law to prohibit drunk-drivers from 
discharging debts arising from their actions under chapter 13. This 
became Public Law 101-581.
  The 1990 crime bill included some bankruptcy provisions pertaining to 
the collection of debts to the U.S. Government and the discharge of 
debts in bankruptcy. This bill became Public Law 101-647.
  In 1992, Congress passed a bill to authorize the appointment of 
additional bankruptcy judges. This bill became Public Law 102-361. 
Alabama was to receive another bankruptcy judge for the Northern 
  1994 saw the passage of a major bankruptcy reform bill. This bill 
became Public Law 103-394. It modified provisions concerning the rights 
of debtors and creditors and altered the relationship between secured 
and unsecured creditors. It increased the efficiency of the business 
reorganization procedures. It encouraged the use of procedures that 
allow individual debtors to pay their debts over time instead of facing 
liquidation. It also created a bankruptcy review commission to report 
on needed substantive changes. The bill sought to modernize the 
administration of the bankruptcy process by establishing clear 
authority for bankruptcy courts to manage their dockets activity 
through the use of status conferences. The bill strengthened extant law 
to encourage Federal appeals courts to establish a bankruptcy appellate 
panel to promote expedient bankruptcy appeals.