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March 2012
Legal Report

Trespassing

A bill (H.R. 347) that strengthens penalties for trespassing on certain federal properties has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Senate has announced that it will consider the measure.

    Economic Espionage

    A bill (S. 678) that would increase penalties for economic espionage has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. To proceed, the bill must now be taken up by the full Senate.

      Economic Espionage

      A bill (S. 678) that would increase penalties for economic espionage has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. To proceed, the bill must now be taken up by the full Senate.

        Weapons

        A bill (H.R. 822) that would require states to honor the concealed weapons permits of other states has been approved by the House of Representatives. The bill is now pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

          Preparedness

          A bill (H.R. 2405) that would reauthorize an appropriations bill designed to aid in pandemic preparedness has been approved by the House of Representatives. The measure is now pending in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

            Supply Chains

            A new law (formerly S.B. 657) in California requires that companies doing business in the state disclose their efforts to eradicate slave labor and human trafficking from their supply chains.

              Port Security

              A new law (formerly H.B. 283) addresses inconsistences between state and federal port security regulations. In 2000, Florida enacted a port security law to address criminal activity in the state’s seaports. However, the federal seaport security standards enacted after the 9-11 attacks, preempted some aspects of the state’s provisions. The ports were also duplicating their efforts on some measures.

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                Workplace Violence

                A California court has ruled that a company can rely on hearsay evidence in pursuing a restraining order against a potentially violent visitor.

                  DNA

                  A new standard out of the National Institute of Standards and Technology simplifies the transfer of DNA data across borders. It also provides more details on transmitting fingerprint and crime scene data.

                    Employment

                    A company did not discriminate against a group of older employees when it fired them—but not two younger employees—for sending and receiving pornographic materials using their corporate e-mail accounts.

                    GPS Tracking

                    The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that police officers need a warrant to track a suspect’s movements using GPS, but there’s more nuance than first meets the eye. Read the ruling here.

                      Excessive Force

                      A federal appeals court has ruled that the parents of a teenager killed by police may pursue their excessive-force lawsuit. The teen was armed with a pocketknife and was threatening to kill himself. An appellate court instructed the lower court to determine whether the officers could reasonably suspect that the teenager posed an immediate threat to their safety.

                      Emergency Alerts

                      New technology is helping implement a 2006 executive order directing the Department of Homeland Security to develop a next-generation public alert system. See the original directive.

                        Privacy

                        Law enforcement does not need a warrant to obtain the IP addresses for Twitter users, according to a recent decision. In investigating contributors to Wikileaks, the federal government asked Twitter to turn over the suspects’ account information. A U.S. district court ruled that the government does not need a warrant and that Twitter users have no expectations of privacy.

                        Cruise Ship Security

                        The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) of 2010 imposes safety and security requirements, the majority of which are now in effect, on cruise lines that do business in the United States. Read the legislation online.

                          Intelligence

                          In a dispute over the accuracy of government intelligence reports, a federal appeals court has ruled that a lower court erred when it refused to accept such a report in the case of a Guantanamo detainee. By accepting the report, the court noted, the burden of proof correctly shifts to the plaintiff to prove that the facts are incorrect.

                           




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