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S. 2990 (106th): Judicial Education Reform Act of 2000


The text of the bill below is as of Jul 27, 2000 (Introduced). The bill was not enacted into law.


S 2990 IS

106th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2990

To amend chapter 42 of title 28, United States Code, to establish the Judicial Education Fund for the payment of the reasonable expenses of judges participating in seminars, to prohibit the acceptance of seminar gifts, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

July 27, 2000

Mr. KERRY (for himself, and Mr. FEINGOLD) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


A BILL

To amend chapter 42 of title 28, United States Code, to establish the Judicial Education Fund for the payment of the reasonable expenses of judges participating in seminars, to prohibit the acceptance of seminar gifts, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. JUDICIAL EDUCATION AND SEMINARS.

    (a) SHORT TITLE- This Act may be cited as the ‘Judicial Education Reform Act of 2000’.

    (b) JUDICIAL EDUCATION FUND-

      (1) ESTABLISHMENT- Chapter 42 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

‘Sec. 630. Judicial Education Fund

    ‘(a) There is established within the United States Treasury a fund to be known as the ‘Judicial Education Fund’ (in this section referred to as the ‘Fund’).

    ‘(b) Amounts in the Fund may be made available for the payment of necessary expenses, including reasonable expenditures for transportation, food, lodging, seminar fees and materials, incurred by a judge or justice in attending a seminar approved by the Board of the Federal Judicial Center. Necessary expenses shall not include expenditures for recreational activities or entertainment other than that provided to all attendees as an integral part of the seminar. Any payment from the Fund shall be approved by the Board.

    ‘(c) The Board may approve a seminar after submission of information by the sponsor of that seminar that includes--

      ‘(1) the content of the seminar (including a list of presenters, topics, and course materials);

      ‘(2) the source of funding for the seminar;

      ‘(3) the litigation activities of the sponsor and the source of funding (including any litigation funded by the source of funding); and

      ‘(4) litigation activities of all presenters at the seminar (including the litigation activity of the employer of the presenter).

    ‘(d) If the Board approves a seminar, the Board shall make the information submitted under subsection (c) relating to the seminar available to judges and the public by posting the information (or a detailed summary of the information) on the Internet.

    ‘(e) The Judicial Conference shall promulgate guidelines to ensure that the Board only approves seminars that are conducted in a manner so as to maintain the public’s confidence in an unbiased and fair-minded judiciary.

    ‘(f) In this section the term ‘seminar’ shall include panel discussions, conferences, colloquia, symposia, and other similar events.

    ‘(g) There are authorized to be appropriated for deposit in the Fund $2,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005, to remain available until expended.’.

      (2) TECHNICAL AND CONFORMING AMENDMENT- The table of sections for chapter 42 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

      ‘630. Judicial Education Fund.’.

    (c) SEMINAR GIFTS PROHIBITED-

      (1) DEFINITION- In this subsection the term ‘seminar’ shall include panel discussions, conferences, colloquia, symposia, and other similar events.

      (2) IN GENERAL- Not later than 240 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Judicial Conference of the United States shall promulgate regulations to apply section 7353(a) of title 5, United States Code, to prohibit the solicitation or acceptance of anything of value in connection with a seminar.

      (3) EXCEPTION- The prohibition under the regulations promulgated under paragraph (2) shall not apply if--

        (A) the judge or judicial employee participates in a seminar as a speaker, panel participant, or otherwise presents information;

        (B) Federal judges are not the primary audience at the seminar; and

        (C) the thing of value accepted is--

          (i) reimbursement from the seminar sponsor of reasonable transportation, food, or lodging expenses on any day on which the judge or judicial employee speaks, participates, or presents information, as applicable;

          (ii) attendance at the seminar on any day on which the judge or judicial employee speaks, participates, or presents information, as applicable; or

          (iii) anything excluded from the definition of a gift under regulations of the Judicial Conference of the United States under sections 7351 and 7353 of title 5, United States Code, as in effect on the date of enactment of this Act.