From the July 2009 Idaho Observer:

Browsing The bad, the good, the absurd:

Tracking "active legislation," on Govtrack can be entertaining. Here are some items proposed in Congress the first two weeks

The bad

Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) introduced HR 628: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States should pursue the global elimination of obstacles to the proliferation of technologies and services.

Rep. Thomas Perriello (D-VA) introduced HR 3180: To establish the National Advisory Committee on Rural Education in the Department of Education.

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) introduced S 1425, the GROWTH (Global Resources and Opportunities for Women to Survive) Act: A bill to increase the United States financial and programmatic contributions to promote economic opportunities for women in developing countries.

Rep Christopher Smith (R-NJ) introduced HR 3160 - more appropriations for Israel in 2010.

Sen. Samuel Brownback (R-KS) introduced S 1416, to require the redesignation of North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, to impose sanctions with respect to North Korea, to require reports on the status of North Korea's nuclear weapons program and counter-proliferation efforts, and for other purposes.

The Good (?)

Section 533 of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2010 – passed the House (amended) and Senate: Prohibits the use of funds made available in this Act for planning, testing, piloting, or developing a national identification card.

Nita Lowey (D-NY) with 145 co-sponsors introduced HR1881: To provide for employees of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) the protections of the federal civil service system, including the right to collective bargaining, compensation, leave, health, and other employee rights, and prohibiting any reduction in pay upon conversion.

Bill Nelson (D-FL) introduced S 1431, to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require a voter-verified permanent paper ballot.

Rep Ted Poe (R-TX) and Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) introduced HR 3131, to make participation in the American Community Survey (for the census) voluntary, except with respect to certain basic questions: The name of the respondent; contact information for the respondent; the date of the response; and the number of people living or staying at the address.

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) introduced H. R. 3129, to prohibit United States contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); specifically, that the president may not make contributions on behalf of the United States to the IPCC.

The absurd

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) introduced HR 623: Requesting the president support the goals and ideals of National Night Out, by issuing a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to conduct appropriate ceremonies to make crime reduction an important priority and by delivering speeches and convening meetings in coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the USA Freedom Corps, the Citizen Corps, the National Senior Service Corps, and AmeriCorps, to provide homeland security and combat terrorism in the United States.

Sen. Samuel Brownback (R-KS) introduced S 1435, the Human-Animal Hybrid Prohibition Act of 2009, because—advances in research and technology have made possible the creation of human-animal hybrids and because human-animal hybrids are grossly unethical because they blur the line between human and animal, male and female, and parent and child. The term ‘human-animal hybrid’ is defined as—a human embryo into which a non-human cell or cells (or the component parts thereof) have been introduced to render the embryo’s membership in the species Homo sapiens uncertain; a hybrid human/animal embryo produced by fertilizing a human egg with non-human sperm or by fertilizing a non-human egg with human sperm; an embryo produced by introducing a non-human nucleus into a human egg or vise versa; an embryo containing at least haploid sets of chromosomes from both a human and a non-human life form; a non-human life form engineered such that human gametes develop within the body of a non-human life form; or a non-human life form engineered such that it contains a human brain or a brain derived wholly or predominantly from human neural tissues.

Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-NC) introduced HR 3150 to bail out poultry farms affected by poultry processors facing bankruptcy.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced S 1399 to amend the Commodity Exchange Act to establish a market for the trading of greenhouse gases.

And the ridiculous

Rep Joe Baca (D-CA) initiated HR 3171 – to help "stabilize and restore the economy" by providing credit for the underbanked, the unbanked and consumers with low credit scores.

Sen John Kerry (D-MA) and Sen Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced S 1409 to expedite the adjudication of employer petitions for aliens with extraordinary artistic ability. This Act is cited as the "Arts Require Timely Service Act" or the ARTS Act.

And finally, Rep. Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced HCR 163, designating Sept 23 as "National Job Corps Day;" while Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) recommended SR 210, a resolution designating the week of November 9 as "National School Psychology Week."