Politics

Russian sanctions, electronic duck stamps among flurry of new laws signed by Obama

Before heading to Hawaii for the holidays, President Obama signed a flurry of bills into laws affecting everything from Russian defense contractors to American duck hunters. 

A total of 52 bills sent up from Congress on Thursday were signed, including the Ukrainian Freedom Support Act of 2014, which includes new sanctions against Moscow over its support of the pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine. The law authorizes sanctions on Russian defense firms deemed to contribute to instability in Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Syria, and authorizes -- not requires -- Obama to provide military aid.

“Signing this legislation does not signal a change in the Administration’s sanctions policy, which we have carefully calibrated in accordance with developments on the ground and coordinated with our allies and partners,” Obama said in a statement. “At this time, the Administration does not intend to impose sanctions under this law, but the Act gives the Administration additional authorities that could be utilized, if circumstances warranted.”

Other bills signed into law included:

  • The “Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act,” which will require the Department of Health and Human Services to continue collecting data about sudden death during early life in an attempt to better enhance awareness.
  • The creation of a new “Aviation Security Advisory Committee” within the TSA.
  • The "Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2014," which will add 25 substances to the list of other substances already defined as a Federally-regulated "anabolic steroid."

Some the other bills include the renaming of various post offices, highways and even a building owned by the FBI, in honor of various public figures. And the “Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act" was signed into law, allowing the Secretary of the Interior to sell and issue electronic federal permits for hunting waterfowl.

Obama leaves on Friday for a 17-day vacation to in Hawaii.