Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Multinational Sources Compared

What are other nations doing to combat the financing of terrorist organizations? How do the United States' laws on family medical leave compare to the United Kingdom? What are the differences and similarities in corporation laws around the world? The Goodson Law Library's research guide to Foreign & Comparative Law has just been updated with a number of sources to help you find the answer to these and other comparative law questions.

In particular, the new HeinOnline database Multinational Sources Compared: A Subject and Jurisdiction Index is a great starting place to locate treatises and other publications which compare multiple countries' domestic practices on a particular topic. The database can be searched by keyword, browsed by subject, or browsed by country to see available publications.

For example, a subject search or browse for "Terrorism Finance" will identify three books comparing anti-money laundering law and practice in dozens of countries, including Money Laundering, Asset Forfeiture and Compliance: A Global Guide (online in Lexis Advance). A subject search or browse for "Corporations" would likewise return seven results, each featuring different countries and subtopics on corporate law. Each source's entry in Multinational Sources Compared briefly describes the contents of each work, lists the countries covered, and includes information about electronic access through legal research services such as Lexis Advance, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law. (Although each entry also features a "Get It @ Duke" button to link users with campus-wide electronic resources, keep in mind that these Law School-only restricted resources are not listed in the Duke University Libraries’ online catalog. Researchers will need to visit the research services separately, rather than relying on the Get It @ Duke link.)

Search options can also be combined. A search combining the subject "Family Leave" with the jurisdiction "United Kingdom" would retrieve three book results, including the Kluwer title International Encyclopaedia of Laws for Social Security Law. The International Encyclopaedia of Laws are a set of treatises which provide "National Monographs" outlining each featured country's practices on the topic. Countries covered will vary across the different IEL topics, and Multinational Sources Compared will quickly tell a researcher if a country of interest is included. (The IEL set can also be searched or browsed separately at Kluwer Law Online.)

The Foreign & Comparative Law research guide also contains resources for researching non-U.S. legal systems and introductions to comparative law methods. A separate section provides starting places for locating primary legal materials from other countries, either in translation or in the vernacular.

For help with locating comparative and foreign law materials, or with using the resources listed in the research guide, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Congressional Budget Office

Yesterday, a revised version of the American Health Care Act, intended to reverse a number of insurance measures enacted as part of the President Barack Obama-era Affordable Care Act, narrowly passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday afternoon, in a 217-213 vote. The bill passed despite vocal opposition from citizens concerned about a return to heightened insurance rates for patients with pre-existing conditions, as well as pushback from both health care providers and the insurance industry itself.

The controversial House bill now heads to the U.S. Senate, which is expected to draft its own version of Affordable Care Act repeal-and-replace legislation. As the Washington Post noted today, though, the future of such legislation in the Senate is uncertain. One major reason? The Senate cannot take up consideration of the bill until the Congressional Budget Office completes its report:
First, the Senate's parliamentarian — or rules-keeper — cannot review the legislation and determine the rules of debate until the CBO submits its official estimate, which could take several more weeks to complete, according to congressional aides. That would mean that official Senate debate on the bill could not begin until June.
The Congressional Budget Office is an independent office in the legislative branch which provides non-partisan analysis of proposed legislation's budgetary effects. Established in 1974 by the Congressional Budget Act, CBO analyses are cited by Congress as useful assessments of a particular legislative proposal's effects. An earlier version of the American Health Care Act was pulled from a House vote in March after the CBO estimated that an additional 24 million Americans could be uninsured by 2024 as a result of its passage. The version which passed the House yesterday was voted on without a revised CBO score.

CBO reports are available on the office's website, back to its 1975 Testimony on Long Range Budget Projections. The federal Documents collections at the Goodson Law Library and elsewhere on campus also contain hard copies of many CBO publications, which can be found with an author search of the Duke University Libraries catalog for congressional budget office. More background about the CBO and its work can be found in the United States Government Manual.

For help locating information about the CBO or federal legislation, be sure to Ask a Librarian.