FindLaw Opinion Summaries - Family Law
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Daily family law case summaries, brought to you by FindLaw.com.
What GAO Found Based on GAO’s analysis of data for 2000 to 2014, 115 fatal crashes involved a school bus on average each year—which is 0.3 percent of the 34,835 total fatal motor-vehicle crashes on average each year. The school-bus driver and school-bus vehicle (e.g., a defect) were cited as contributing factors in 27 percent and less than 1 percent of fatal school-bus crashes, respectively. Seventy-two percent of fatal crashes occurred during home-to-school and school-to-home travel times. Limited national data on school bus crashes exist beyond data on fatal school-bus crashes, but some states have richer data—for example, on the type of bus or whether the operator was a school district or private contractor. Federal laws and regulations set requirements for certain aspects of school bus safety, and state laws and regulations in many cases go beyond the federal requirements. Federal regulations for school-bus vehicle standards and driver licensing apply to both school districts and contractors. DOT has reported that new school buses must meet more Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards than any other type of new motor vehicle. Federal safety regulations for commercial motor-vehicle operations apply in certain cases, such as for contractors hired by schools to provide transportation for extracurricular activities across state lines. Based on a systematic search of state laws and regulations, GAO found that all 50 states require school bus inspections while most states—GAO found 44—require refresher training for school bus drivers. However, GAO found that less than a quarter of states set specific requirements for the maximum age and seating capacity of school buses. Overall, according to stakeholders GAO interviewed, states’ requirements vary by state for school bus inspections, driver training, and vehicles but tend not to differ based on the type of operator. Examples of Federal and State Requirements for School Bus Safety Why GAO Did This Study School buses transport over 26 million students to school and other activities every day. While school buses have a strong safety record, crashes with fatalities and injuries do occur. Since school buses transport precious cargo—our children—government and industry strive to further improve their safety. Federal and state agencies both oversee school bus safety, and locally, school buses can be operated by school districts or private contractors, working on behalf of school districts. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act included a provision for GAO to review school bus safety. GAO examined (1) fatal crashes involving school buses for 2000 to 2014 and (2) federal and state school-bus-related laws and regulations, among other objectives. GAO analyzed two sets of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute on fatal school bus crashes for 2000 to 2014, the latest year for which data were available; reviewed federal laws and regulations; and systematically searched state laws and regulations on school-bus inspections, driver training, and maximum vehicle age and capacity in all 50 states. GAO also interviewed federal officials from the Department of Transportation (DOT), school bus industry associations and manufacturers, and other stakeholders. DOT reviewed a draft of this report and provided technical comments that GAO incorporated as appropriate. For more information, contact Susan Fleming at (202) 512-2834 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What GAO Found The U.S. Census Bureau’s (Bureau) 2020 Decennial Census program is heavily dependent upon the Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing (CEDCAP) program to deliver the key systems needed to support the 2020 redesign. CEDCAP is a complex modernization program intended to deliver a system-of-systems for the Bureau’s survey data collection and processing functions. In August 2016, GAO reported that while the two programs had taken steps to coordinate their schedules, risks, and requirements, they lacked effective processes for managing interdependencies. Officials acknowledged weaknesses in managing interdependencies and reported that they were taking steps to address them. Until these interdependencies are managed more effectively, the Bureau will be limited in its ability to meet milestones, mitigate major risks, and ensure that requirements are appropriately identified. While the large-scale technological changes for the 2020 Decennial Census introduce great potential for efficiency and effectiveness gains, they also introduce many information security challenges. For example, the introduction of an option for households to respond using the Internet puts respondents more at risk for phishing attacks (requests for information from authentic-looking, but fake, e-mails and websites). The Bureau had begun efforts to address a number of these challenges; as it begins implementing this decennial census’ design, continued focus on these considerable security challenges will be critical. Looking forward, there is uncertainty as to whether the Census Bureau will be ready for the 2018 end-to-end test, set to begin in August 2017. GAO has ongoing work for this committee that is evaluating the significant challenges the Bureau faces in developing, testing, integrating, and securing systems prior to the 2018 test. For example, of the 50 systems to be included in the end-to-end test, half of them are to be delivered after the start of the test or lack a firm delivery date (see figure). In addition, key dates for the integration of the systems have not yet been defined. Given the short window of time before the test is to begin, it is important that the Bureau continue to focus its attention on implementing and securing the data collection systems that are to collect and store the personal information of millions of American people. Figure: Status of Systems to be used for the 2018 End-to-End Test Why GAO Did This Study The U.S. Census Bureau (a component of the Department of Commerce) plans to significantly change the methods and technology it uses to count the population with the 2020 Decennial Census, such as by offering an option for households to respond to the survey via the Internet. The Bureau’s redesign of the Census program relies on the acquisition and development of many new and modified systems. Several of the key systems are to be provided by an enterprise-wide initiative called CEDCAP. This statement summarizes the report GAO issued in August 2016 on the challenges the Bureau faces in managing the interdependencies between the 2020 Census and CEDCAP programs, as well as challenges it faces in ensuring the security and integrity of Bureau systems and data. GAO also updated key information based on its ongoing work for this committee by, among other things, reviewing the updated 2020 Operational Plan and systems lists provided by the Bureau, and by interviewing agency officials. What GAO Recommends In its August report, GAO made eight recommendations to the Department of Commerce. The recommendations addressed, among other things, deficiencies in the Bureau’s management of interdependencies related to schedule, risk, and requirements. The department agreed with all eight recommendations and indicated that it would be taking actions to address them. For more information, contact David A. Powner at (202) 512-9286 or email@example.com.
January 19, 2017 Contact: Office of Communications Phone: 202-693-1999 US Department of Labor renews the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health WASHINGTON – Secretary of Labor
OSHA News Release
This is a summary of GAO’s performance and financial information for fiscal year 2016. Mission: The Government Accountability Office, the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of the Congress, exists to support the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance and ensure the accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people. We examine the use of public funds; evaluate federal programs and policies; and provide analyses, recommendations, and other assistance to help the Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding decisions. Organization and Strategic Focus: To fulfill our mission, we organize and manage our resources to support four broad strategic goals. These include three external goals: helping to address challenges to the well-being and financial security of the American people, responding to changing security threats and the challenges of global interdependence, and transforming the federal government to address national challenges. Our fourth strategic goal is an internal goal—to maximize our value by enabling quality, timely service to the Congress and being a leading practices federal agency. Human Capital: We maintain a workforce of highly trained professionals across a breadth of disciplines. In fiscal year 2016, 71 percent of our approximately 3,000 employees were based at our headquarters in Washington, D.C.; the rest were deployed in 11 field offices across the country. Performance: To help determine how well we are meeting the needs of the Congress and the nation and maximizing our value as a leading practices agency, we assess our performance annually using a balanced set of quantitative measures. To establish targets for all of our performance measures, we examine our past performance and the external factors that could influence our future work and discuss with our senior executives what could be accomplished in the upcoming fiscal year. We may adjust these targets after we publish our annual performance plan based on changes in planned work or level of funding. Key annual performance measures that highlight our performance in significant areas related to the implementation of our mission are provided below. Accomplishments: In fiscal year 2016, we met or exceeded the goals we set for all but two of the areas measured. For example, we identified $ 63.4 billion in financial benefits for the federal government—a return of about $ 112 for every dollar we spent—and 1,234 improvements in broad program and operational areas across the government. Seventy-three percent of our recommendations were implemented by federal agencies or the Congress (7 percentage points short of our target), and over two-thirds (68 percent) of the products we issued contained recommendations. We testified 119 times before the Congress (our target was 120) on a wide variety of topics, nearly 40 percent of which were on areas considered at high risk for fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement. For people measures, we met one of our targets (retention rate without retirements) and exceeded our targets for the remaining six measures–new hire rate, retention rate with retirements, staff development, staff utilization, effective leadership by supervisors, and organizational climate. Challenges: In fiscal year 2016, we made progress addressing four management challenges—human capital, engagement efficiency, information security, and telework. To address our human capital challenge, we hired staff to fill 221 positions, and reached 2,983 full-time equivalents—making important strides toward meeting our optimal level of 3,250. For engagement efficiency, we continued to streamline engagement processes and systems and conduct outreach with users. For information security, we made upgrades to speed our detection of and response to malicious activity. With regard to telework, we provided staff and managers with thorough telework policies and guidance and mandatory training for managers.
GAO Mission and Operations
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