Laws Every American Citizen Should Know
Our rights as Americans, if not humans, are legitimate, collective, or moral codes of freedom or privilege. The Bill of Rights further defines these rights and prohibits Congress from enacting laws that restrict these rights. In furtherance of the protection of these rights, individuals who are American citizens must know and be aware of the following specific hallmark laws, rules, and regulations.
Freedom of Information Act
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives every American the right to see and use records from any government establishment to promote transparency and accountability. Any individual may request information under FOIA. Federal agencies must disclose any information requested under this act with exemptions to personal privacy, law enforcement, and classified information. Also, government institutions have a legal obligation to post information online.
The Pendleton Act (1883)
The Pendleton Act prevents those individuals with federal employment histories from being employed or dismissed based on political associations or connections to politicians. This legislative act provides a mechanism for selecting public servants through competitive examinations. It makes it illegal to demote government officials for political reasons.
The Patriot Act (2001)
As a result of 9/11, Congress passed the controversial Patriot Act in 2001 intending to guard America against terrorist activities. The Act contains several provisions that enable law enforcement agencies to acquire information and watch suspected terrorists. It also provides more power for authorities to punish terrorism than before.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964
A landmark American civil rights and labor law that dissuades segregation of any type banning any discrimination centered on race, national affiliation, gender, religion, or checking biased voting registration prerequisites and segregation in open spaces. It also guarantees equal protection and voting rights for all citizens.
No Child Left Behind (2001)
The No Child Left Behind Act provides schools, especially those in disadvantaged districts, with funds and capital to reduce the success gap among separate school districts. Its goal is to ensure that no child receives less than an excellent education. States must set yearly targets for students’ proficiency in reading and mathematics so that they ensure that annual goals are achieved.
The Privacy Act
Because federal agencies generate data on each person who served in the armed forces, ever paid taxes, applied for a social benefit or was involved directly in any government institution, there is a necessity to balance the government’s need to retain data about individuals with the need to protect them from unnecessary intrusions of privacy. The Privacy Act gives Americans the right to view and amend any data that the government stores about them. Individuals may access documents about their individual information, subject to exception; modify a file that is incorrect or inadequate, or sue the government for inappropriately leaking any information.
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