An Act of Congress is a statute enacted by the United States Congress. It can either be a Public Law, relating to the general public, or a Private Law, relating to specific institutions or individuals.
The term can be used in other countries with a legislature named "Congress", such as the Congress of the Philippines.
In the United States, Acts of Congress are designated as either public laws, relating to the general public, or private laws, relating to specific institutions or individuals. Since 1957, all Acts of Congress have been designated as "Public Law X-Y" or "Private Law X-Y", where X is the number of the Congress and Y refers to the sequential order of the bill (when it was enacted).For example, P. L. 111-5 (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) was the fifth enacted public law of the 111th United States Congress. Public laws are also often abbreviated as Pub. L. No. X-Y.
When the legislation of those two kinds is proposed, it is called public bill and private bill respectively.
The word "act", as used in the term "Act of Congress", is a common, not a proper noun. The capitalization of the word "act" is deprecated by some dictionaries and usage authorities.Some writers, in particular the U.S. Code, capitalize "Act". This is likely a result of the more liberal use of capital letters in legal contexts, which has its roots in the 18th century capitalization of all nouns as is seen in the United States Constitution.
"Act of Congress" is sometimes used in informal speech to indicate something for which getting permission is burdensome. For example, "It takes an Act of Congress to get a building permit in this town."
An Act adopted by simple majorities in both houses of Congress is promulgated, or given the force of law, in one of the following ways:
The President promulgates Acts of Congress made by the first two methods. If an Act is made by the third method, the presiding officer of the house that last reconsidered the act promulgates it.
Under the United States Constitution, if the President does not return a bill or resolution to Congress with objections before the time limit expires, then the bill automatically becomes an Act; however, if the Congress is adjourned at the end of this period, then the bill dies and cannot be reconsidered (see pocket veto). In addition, if the President rejects a bill or resolution while the Congress is in session, a two-thirds vote of both houses of the Congress is needed for reconsideration to be successful.
Promulgation in the sense of publishing and proclaiming the law is accomplished by the President, or the relevant presiding officer in the case of an overridden veto, delivering the act to the Archivist of the United States.After the Archivist receives the Act, he or she provides for its publication as a slip law and in the United States Statutes at Large. Thereafter, the changes are published in the United States Code.
Through the process of judicial review, an Act of Congress that violates the Constitution may be declared unconstitutional by the courts. The judicial declaration of an Act's unconstitutionality does not remove the law from the statute books; rather, it prevents the law from being enforced. However, future publications of the Act are generally annotated with warnings indicating that the statute is no longer valid law.
The Code of Laws of the United States of America is the official compilation and codification of the general and permanent federal statutes of the United States. It contains 53 titles. The main edition is published every six years by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the House of Representatives, and cumulative supplements are published annually. The official version of those laws not codified in the United States Code can be found in United States Statutes at Large.
A veto is the power to unilaterally stop an official action, especially the enactment of legislation. A veto can be absolute, as for instance in the United Nations Security Council, whose permanent members can block any resolution, or it can be limited, as in the legislative process of the United States, where a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate will override a Presidential veto of legislation. A veto may give power only to stop changes, like the US legislative veto, or to also adopt them, like the legislative veto of the Indian President, which allows him to propose amendments to bills returned to the Parliament for reconsideration.
Promulgation is the formal proclamation or the declaration that a new statutory or administrative law is enacted after its final approval. In some jurisdictions, this additional step is necessary before the law can take effect.
A pocket veto is a legislative maneuver that allows a president or another official with veto power to exercise that power over a bill by taking no action.
The Copyright Act of 1790 was the first federal copyright act to be instituted in the United States, though most of the states had passed various legislation securing copyrights in the years immediately following the Revolutionary War. The stated object of the act was the "encouragement of learning," and it achieved this by securing authors the "sole right and liberty of printing, reprinting, publishing and vending" the copies of their "maps, charts, and books" for a term of 14 years, with the right to renew for one additional 14-year term should the copyright holder still be alive.
Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919 (1983), was a United States Supreme Court case ruling in 1983 that the one-house legislative veto violated the constitutional separation of powers.
In the United States Congress, a joint resolution is a legislative measure that requires passage by the Senate and the House of Representatives and is presented to the President for his approval or disapproval. Generally, there is no legal difference between a joint resolution and a bill. Both must be passed, in exactly the same form, by both chambers of Congress, and signed by the President to become a law. Only joint resolutions may be used to propose amendments to the United States Constitution and these do not require the approval of the President. Laws enacted by joint resolutions are not distinguished from laws enacted by bills, except that they are designated as resolutions as opposed to Acts of Congress.
A repeal is the removal or reversal of a law. There are two basic types of repeal, a repeal with a re-enactment of the repealed law, or a repeal without any replacement.
The Archivist of the United States is the official overseeing the operation of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The first Archivist, R.D.W. Connor, began serving in 1934, when the National Archives was established as an independent federal agency by Congress. The Archivists served as subordinate officials of the General Services Administration from 1949 until the National Archives and Records Administration became an independent agency again on April 1, 1985. The position is held by David Ferriero, who was named to the office in 2009.
The United States Statutes at Large, commonly referred to as the Statutes at Large and abbreviated Stat., are an official record of Acts of Congress and concurrent resolutions passed by the United States Congress. Each act and resolution of Congress is originally published as a slip law, which is classified as either public law or private law (Pvt.L.), and designated and numbered accordingly. At the end of a Congressional session, the statutes enacted during that session are compiled into bound books, known as "session law" publications. The session law publication for U.S. Federal statutes is called the United States Statutes at Large. In that publication, the public laws and private laws are numbered and organized in chronological order. U.S. Federal statutes are published in a three-part process, consisting of slip laws, session laws, and codification.
The Presentment Clause of the United States Constitution outlines federal legislative procedure by which bills originating in Congress become federal law in the United States.
Title 1 of the United States Code outlines the general provisions of the United States Code.
About Public Laws
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