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Congress at Work for August 2018

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Offshore Jobs for U.S. Workers, Money for North Korean Refugee and Human Rights Programs, and a New $1 Coin Honoring American Innovation

Offshore Jobs for U.S. Workers, Money for North Korean Refugee, H.R. 5956, H.R. 2061, H.R. 770, H.R. 219, H.R. 2122, 2292, 951, 447, 446; S. 490Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act of 2018 (H.R. 5956) – This bill is related to the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008, which stated that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must reduce the number of Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) transitional worker (CW) permits each year, with the goal of ceasing all permits by the end of 2019. However, over the past five years, there has been increasing demand for CW permits resulting from economic expansion largely due to the construction of casinos and hotels. H.R. 5956 authorizes an increase in the percentage of U.S. workers for CNMI work permits. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) on May 24 and signed into law by the President on July 24.

North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2017 (H.R. 2061) – This bill was introduced by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) on April 6, 2017, and signed into law by the President on July 20. H.R. 2061 authorizes funding of $10 million a year from 2018 to 2022 as well as reinstates and extends human rights and democracy programs under the North Korean Human Rights Act through 2022. The purpose of these programs is to promote human rights, democracy, and freedom of information in North Korea, and provide humanitarian assistance to North Korean refugees.

American Innovation $1 Coin Act (H.R. 770) – Introduced by Rep. James Himes (D-CT), this bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue $1 coins commemorating innovation and innovators from each state, U.S. territory and the District of Columbia. Starting in 2019, the Treasury will issue four coins per year over a 14-year period in alphabetical order by jurisdiction. Coin designs may not feature the bust of any person nor the portrait of any living person. The bill was introduced on Jan. 31, 2017, and signed into law by the President on July 20.        

Swan Lake Hydroelectric Project Boundary Correction Act (H.R. 219) – Sponsored by Rep. Don Young (R-AK), this bill authorizes the Department of the Interior to modify the boundary of the Swan Lake Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. 2911) and convey to the state of Alaska any additional land necessary for the project. The bill was introduced on Jan. 3, 2017, and was signed into law by the President on July 20.

To extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project (H.R. 2122, 2292, 951, 447, 446; S. 490) – This series of bills were sponsored by various Republican Congressmen and women from several different states. Although the initial legislative Acts were enacted in various past years, each of these bills authorizes the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to extend the time period for starting construction on their respective hydroelectric projects. The bills were signed into law on various days in July by the President.

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