New Title for the United States Code

The Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives – the Office that codifies the public laws passed by Congress – recently announced new Title 51 of the United States Code.   H.R. Bill No. 3237, 111th Congress, “To Enact Certain Laws Relating to National and Commercial Space Programs as Title 51, United States Code, ‘National and Commercial Space Programs’,” was enacted as Public Law No. 111-314 and signed by President Obama in December 2010.  The text of the law is not yet available on GPO’s FDsys website or on Westlaw, but can be found on LexisNexis Congressional.  The original bill and House Report 111-325 are available on Thomas.

The Table of Contents of the new Title is:
TITLE 51–NATIONAL AND COMMERCIAL SPACE PROGRAMS
Subtitle I–General
Chap.                                                                   Sec.
101.   Definitions ………………………………………….. 10101

Subtitle II–General Program and Policy Provisions
201.   National Aeronautics and Space Program ………………….. 20101
203.   Responsibilities and Vision ……………………………. 20301

Subtitle III–Administrative Provisions
301.   Appropriations, Budgets, and Accounting …………………. 30101
303.   Contracting and Procurement ……………………………. 30301
305.   Management and Review …………………………………. 30501
307.   International Cooperation and Competition ……………….. 30701
309.   Awards ………………………………………………. 30901
311.   Safety ………………………………………………. 31101
313.   Healthcare …………………………………………… 31301
315.   Miscellaneous ………………………………………… 31501

Subtitle IV–Aeronautics and Space Research and Education
401.   Aeronautics ………………………………………….. 40101
403.   National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program ………. 40301
405.   Biomedical Research in Space …………………………… 40501
407.   Environmentally Friendly Aircraft ………………………. 40701
409.   Miscellaneous ………………………………………… 40901

Subtitle V–Programs Targeting Commercial Opportunities
501.   Space Commerce ……………………………………….. 50101
503.   Commercial Reusable In-Space Transportation ……………… 50301
505.   Commercial Space Competitiveness ……………………….. 50501
507.   Office of Space Commercialization ………………………. 50701

Subtitle VI–Earth Observations
601.   Land Remote Sensing Policy …………………………….. 60101
603.   Remote Sensing ……………………………………….. 60301
605.   Earth Science ………………………………………… 60501

Subtitle VII–Access to Space
701.   Use of Space Shuttle or Alternatives ……………………. 70101
703.   Shuttle Pricing Policy for Commercial and Foreign Users …… 70301
705.   Exploration Initiatives ……………………………….. 70501
707.   Human Space Flight Independent Investigation Commission …… 70701
709.   International Space Station ……………………………. 70901
711.   Near-Earth Objects ……………………………………. 71101
713.   Cooperation for Safety Among Spacefaring Nations …………. 71301
The Law Revision Counsel is also working on four additional new code titles:  Title 52 (“Voting and Elections”), 53 (“Small Business”), 54 (“National Park System”), and 55 (“Environment”), in an ongoing project to revise, clarify, restate and codify the laws of the United States as “positive law.”  The code titles enacted as positive law are the official version of the law, so that reference to the U.S. Statutes at Large is no longer necessary to find the “official language” of a law, as in the past.

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