INFORMATION

Site Map - Legislation

GAO Issues Report on Sexual Abuse of Kids in K-12 Schools

- Schools across the country have hired people who have sexually exploited or targeted children in the past, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

Legal Report

- A review of the legislation approved by the 11th Congress as well as a look at measures that failed to pass this session.

EEOC Issues Final Rule on Genetic Discrimination

- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a final rule implementing the federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) of 2008, which bars employers from discriminating against employees based on their genes.

U.S. Congressional Legislation: Workplace Safety

- A bill (H.R. 5663) that would revise federal workplace safety rules has been approved by the House of Representatives. The Senate has not announced whether it will take up the measure. The main portion of the bill addressed mine safety issues. However, the bill also addresses workplace safety in general. H.R. 5663 would increase the penalties for willful or repeat violations of workplace safety rules. Penalties for such violations would rise from a minimum of $5,000 and a maximum of $70,000 to a minimum of $8,000 and a maximum of $250,000. These penalties increase when a violation causes or contributes to an employee’s death.

U.S. Congressional Legislation: Chemical Facilities

- A bill (H.R. 2868) intended to increase security at chemical facilities has been approved by the Senate Homeland Security Committee. The measure must now go before the Senate for a vote. The Senate replaced H.R. 2868 with a new version of the bill. The version passed by the Senate committee is identical to the House version in some respects. It would extend existing law, and maintain current Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations on the subject, by establishing standards and procedures for security vulnerability assessments and site security plans. The Senate and House versions, however, differ with regard to inherently safer technologies.

State Legislation: Connecticut: Employment

- A new Connecticut law (formerly H.B. 5497) prohibits employers from firing, demoting, or threatening employees who are subpoenaed in a criminal case, participating in a criminal investigation, or have a restraining order issued on their behalf. Employers must also provide time off for victims of domestic violence who must obtain medical care, seek help from victims services, or relocate because of that violence.

State Legislation: Louisiana: Weapons

- A new law (formerly H.B. 1272) in Louisiana allows people to carry concealed weapons into churches, synagogues, and mosques if condoned by that house of worship. Before a person can carry a concealed weapon into a house of worship, the person must undergo an additional eight hours of tactical training that must be repeated each year. Concealed weapons are still prohibited in such facilities located on school property.

U.S. Congressional Legislation: Whistleblowers

- The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (.pdf) contains various provisions that offer incentives and strengthen protections for whistleblowers. Under the law, whistleblowers are directed to report fraud cases directly to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). For original information that results in more than $1 million in sanctions, the whistleblower can receive from 10 to 30 percent of the amount obtained by the SEC or CFTC. The award amount depends on how vital the information was in pursuing the case and the degree of assistance provided by the whistleblower. Awards will not be given to a whistleblower who was convicted of a crime related to the fraud he or she reported.

U.S. Congressional Legislation: Cruise Ship Security

- A new law (P.L. 111-207) seeks to enhance security aboard cruise ships. It applies to cruise ships that embark or disembark at U.S. ports, are authorized to carry at least 250 passengers, and have sleeping facilities for each passenger. The law requires that each stateroom on cruise ships be equipped with security latches and electronic keys that can provide entry dates and times. Ships are also required to install and maintain a video surveillance system and provide information from that surveillance to law enforcement upon request. Cruise ship owners are required to establish and enforce policies on crew-member access to passenger rooms.

U.S. Congressional Legislation: Communications

- A bill (S. 1749) that would prohibit the use of cell phones by all prisoners and would designate cell phones as contraband in prisons has been approved by the House of Representatives. A different version of the bill was previously passed by the Senate; the bill must now go into conference committee to reconcile the differences. Another bill (S. 251) currently pending in the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security would allow corrections officials to petition the government to use wireless jamming devices in prisons.

U.S. Congressional Legislation: Port Security

- The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held a hearing to discuss port security initiatives and explore whether the SAFE Port Act of 2006 should be reauthorized in its previous form or should be altered to address additional security issues.

State Legislation: Alabama: Trade Secrets

- A new Alabama law (formerly H.B. 102) will increase the penalties for trade-secret theft. Under the new law, it will be a felony for a person to intentionally pay or recruit a third party to steal or attempt to steal a trade secret from his or her employer.

State Legislation: New York: Crime

- A New York bill (A.B. 2952) would prohibit police or peace officers from using excessive force either defensively or in making an arrest or preventing an escape. The bill would also make it a misdemeanor for a police officer to intend to kill rather than stop a person. The introduction of the bill was prompted by the case of Sean Bell, a 23-year-old man who was shot and killed by police on his wedding day after hitting an unmarked police car with his van.
 




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