Legislative Research for Congressional Staff: How to Find Documents and Other Resources

Source: Ada S. Cornell, Laura A. Hanson, Michael Greene, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R43434, September 25, 2014

This report is one of a series of reports on legislative process and research; it is intended to serve as a finding aid to sources of information, such as documents, news articles, analysis, contacts and services, used in legislative research. It does not define or describe the purpose of various government documents; that information can be found in companion CRS Report, Legislative History Research: A Guide to Resources for Congressional Staff and Researching Current Federal Legislation and Regulations: A Guide to Resources for Congressional Staff. This report is not intended to be a definitive list of all resources, but rather a guide to pertinent subscriptions available in the House and Senate in addition to select resources freely available to the public. This report is intended for use by Members and congressional office staff and will be updated annually.

An Assessment of the Fiscal Impact of the Proposed Sonoma County Living Wage Ordinance

Source: Jeannette Wicks-Lim, Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), September 2014

Sonoma County, California will consider adopting a living wage ordinance that mandates $15 / hour for workers employed by the County, County contractors, and businesses receiving economic development subsidies. This detailed analysis of the proposal by Jeannette Wicks-Lim finds that the costs transmitted to the County from covered businesses will equal less than 0.03 percent of its $1.4 billion annual budget. Raises for 3,800 home care workers who provide essential daily care for low-income elderly and disabled adults add the largest cost increase to the County. Still, including all covered groups, the costs to the County of the measure will equal less than one percent of its total Budget.

Organizing Within Our Changing Profession

Source: Academe, Volume 100, Issue 5, September-October 2014

Articles include:
Overcoming the Challenges of Contingent Faculty Organizing
By David Kociemba
How to organize and maintain a bargaining unit representing adjunct faculty.

Organizing for Advocacy
By Miranda Merklein
Building a new chapter at a community college where all faculty jobs are contingent.

Making a Tangible Difference in Campus Culture in One Year
By Simeon Dreyfuss
Chapter building at a small Catholic university with no tenure-track faculty.

Turning Back the Tide on Contingency
By Ron Bramhall
Balancing the needs of tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty in a union contract.

The Secrets of Successful Membership Recruitment
By Christopher Vecsey
Creating an effective advocacy chapter at a private liberal arts university.

An Unsuccessful Organizing Campaign
By Sally Angel
A postmortem of a failed organizing campaign.

Green Growth: A U.S. Program for Controlling Climate Change and Expanding Job Opportunities

Source: Robert Pollin, Heidi Garrett-Peltier, James Heintz, and Bracken Hendricks, Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) and the Center for American Progress, September 2014

From the summary:
The question for policymakers, and all other citizens, is no longer whether humans are changing our climate. The question now is, how we can stabilize an already-changing climate in a way that promotes economic prosperity? While recently established domestic policies have made strides toward a lower carbon future, such measures are stepping stones. They prescribe the initial path but will not lead to the final goal of achieving the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions necessary to help stabilize global temperatures. Effectively mitigating climate change requires identifying exactly how the United States will transform its energy economy to attain international goals to help protect our climate.

This report quantifies the level of investment required for the United States to align emissions reductions with international goals in an economically beneficial and technically feasible manner. The specific emissions-reduction goal we explore in this study is what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, has proposed for the world as a whole: reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 2005 levels by 2035. To do its part to meet this goal, the United States must reduce its carbon dioxide emissions from energy-based sources by 40 percent, to 3,200 million metric tons, or mmt, over roughly the next 20 years. The proposals in this report put the United States on this track to effectively mitigate global climate change.

The report covers three areas of analysis. It first describes the need for a substantial new wave of mostly private investment in advanced energy technology and higher performing buildings, as well as significant public and private investment needed to build dramatically more efficient infrastructure. Second, it outlines how the United States can and must reduce its use of fossil fuels by 40 percent within the next 20 years, as the window of opportunity to stabilize our changing climate is small and closing rapidly. Third, the report shows that stabilizing the climate requires bold actions that we term the PERI-CAP scenario. In addition to this analysis, the report outlines flexible policy options that can be utilized to take the needed actions. Notably, the report finds that this investment agenda will not only protect our climate but will also generate 2.7 million net new jobs.

Worker Displacement: 2011-2013

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, USDL-14-1605, August 26, 2014

From January 2011 through December 2013, 4.3 million workers were displaced from jobs they had held for at least 3 years, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This was down from 6.1 million workers for the prior survey period cove ring January 2009 to December 2011. In January 2014, 61 percent of workers displaced from 2011 to 2013 were reemployed, up by 5 percentage points from the prior survey in January 2012….

The rise in Clostridium difficile infection incidence among hospitalized adults in the United States: 2001-2010

Source: Kelly R. Reveles, Grace C. Lee, Natalie K. Boyd, Christopher R. Frei, American Journal of Infection Control, Vol. 42, Issue 10, 2014

From the abstract:
Background: Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) incidence is a growing concern. This study provides national estimates of CDI over 10 years and identifies trends in mortality and hospital length of stay (LOS) among hospitalized adults with CDI. …

Results: These data represent 2.2 million adult hospital discharges for CDI over the study period. CDI incidence increased from 4.5 CDI discharges per 1,000 total adult discharges in 2001 to 8.2 CDI discharges per 1,000 total adult discharges in 2010. The overall in-hospital mortality rate was 7.1% for the study period. Mortality increased slightly over the study period, from 6.6% in 2001 to 7.2% in 2010. Median hospital LOS was 8 days (interquartile range, 4-14 days), and remained stable over the study period.

Conclusions: The incidence of CDI among hospitalized adults in the United States nearly doubled from 2001-2010. Furthermore, there is little evidence of improvement in patient mortality or hospital LOS.

2015 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey

Source: Segal Group, 2014

Health benefit plan cost trend rates for 2015 are forecast to drop slightly for some coverage, but to increase substantially for prescription drug coverage, according to data compiled in the 2015 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey, Segal’s eighteenth annual survey of managed care organizations (MCOs), health insurers, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and third-party administrators (TPAs). Trend is the forecast of annual gross per capita claims cost increases. The survey captured data on trend projections for the following types of medical coverage for active participants and retirees under age 65: fee-for-service (FFS)/indemnity plans, high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), open-access preferred provider organizations (PPOs)/point-of-service (POS) plans, PPOs/POS Plans (with PCP gatekeepers) and health maintenance organizations (HMOs). In addition, the survey compiled data on trend projections for various types of medical coverage for Medicare-eligible retirees, prescription drug carve-out, dental and vision. This report presents the survey results, including components of trend, in graphs and tables with observations on key findings. To assess the accuracy of projections, trend projections are compared to actual data. Actual trends for 2013 (the most recent full year for which actual data is available), were the lowest reported in more than 12 years for managed care plans (HMOs and PPOs/ POS plans). The report also compares trend data to increases in the consumer price index for all urban consumers (CPI-U) and wages. It concludes with Segal’s commentary on top health care cost-management strategies….

Satisfaction With Health Coverage and Care: Findings from the 2013 EBRI/Greenwald & Associates Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey

Source: Paul Fronstin, Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), EBRI Notes, Vol. 35 No. 8, August 2014

From the abstract:
This paper examines satisfaction with various aspects of health care by type of health plan. It examines satisfaction among three groups of health-plan enrollees: those with a consumer-driven health plan (CDHP), those with a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), and those with traditional coverage. The findings presented in this paper are derived from the 2013 EBRI/Greenwald & Associates Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey (CEHCS), an online survey that examines issues surrounding consumer-directed health care, including the cost of insurance, the cost of care, satisfaction with health care, satisfaction with health care plans, reasons for choosing a plan, and sources of health information. This paper also presents trends in satisfaction using findings from the 2005-2007 EBRI/Commonwealth Fund Consumerism in Health Care surveys, and the 2008-2012 CEHCS. The overall satisfaction rate among CDHP enrollees increased in most years of the EBRI/Greenwald & Associates CEHCS, while it decreased in most years among traditional enrollees. Differences in out-of-pocket costs may explain some of the differences in overall satisfaction rates. In 2013, 44 percent of traditional-plan participants were extremely or very satisfied with out-of-pocket costs (for health care services other than for prescription drugs), while 20 percent of HDHP enrollees and 31 percent of CDHP participants were extremely or very satisfied. Satisfaction has been trending upward among CDHP enrollees. CDHP and HDHP enrollees were less likely than those in a traditional plan both to recommend their health plan to friends or co-workers and to stay with their current health plan if they had the opportunity to switch plans. The percentage of HDHP and CDHP enrollees reporting that they would be extremely or very likely to recommend their plan to friends or co-workers has been trending upward, while it has been flat among individuals with traditional coverage.