Site Map - Legislation

Legal Report

- Court rulings on negligent hiring, religious discrimination, and trade secrets; plus legislation on whistleblowers, bioterrorism, and cybersecurity.

State Legislation: Illinois: Trade Secrets

- A bill (S.B. 2149) introduced in Illinois would amend the state’s trade secrets act to prevent litigants in trade secrets cases from redefining what they consider to be intellectual property in the middle of a trial. This tactic has been used to hide information from opposing counsel.

U.S. Congressional Legislation: Whistleblowers

- A provision of the recently approved economic stimulus law (P.L. 111-16) requires that nonfederal employers who receive stimulus money implement whistleblower protection programs.

House Homeland Security Committee Passes Antiterrorism Standards for Chemical Facilities

- The House Homeland Security Committee approved a bill yesterday that could force chemical facilities to use safer technologies and open them to civil lawsuits when they violate regulations.

U.S. Congressional Legislation: Border Security

- A bill (H.R. 1148) introduced by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) that evaluates a maritime biometrics program to be used for border security has been approved by the House of Representatives. The measure is now pending in the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

U.S. Congressional Legislation: Privacy Officer

- A bill (H.R. 1617) introduced by Rep. Christopher Carney (D-PA) that would create positions for privacy officials within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been approved by the House of Representatives. The Senate has not announced whether it will consider the bill.

Legal Report

- Two recent appellate court rulings offer differing opinions on whether employers can restrict firearms on company property, plus legislation on privacy, border security, retail theft, and emergency management.

Legal Report

- A school board's drug testing policy is judged unconstitutional, and an employee who destroyed company data but was acquitted cannot sue his employer for malicious prosecution. Congress considers bills on state secrets, copper theft, and food safety.

Legal Report

- A woman who was fired after giving evidence against a coworker in a sexual harassment case may sue her employer. Also, Congress considers bills on privacy, firearms, and cell-phone use in prisons.

State Legislation: Arizona: Background Screening

- A bill (H.B. 2031) introduced in the Arizona House of Representatives would require that third-party contractors, subcontractors, and vendors working in public schools submit to background screening and a federal fingerprint check before being allowed to work on school property. Those who pass the background screening would be required to carry a fingerprint clearance card while on school grounds.

State Legislation: Washington: Cyberbullying

- Lawmakers in Washington have enacted a new law (formerly S.B. 5288) requiring school districts in the state to implement policies to prevent and punish cyberbullying. The state will appoint an advisory committee to develop a model policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation, or bullying conducted by electronic means. The committee will also prepare sample materials for students and instructions on setting up hotlines or other means of reporting cyberbullying.

U.S. Congressional Legislation: Communications

- A bill (S. 251) introduced by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) designed to prohibit prisoners from using smuggled cell phones would allow corrections officials to petition the government to use wireless jamming devices. (Currently, any interference with wireless services is illegal.) In deciding whether to grant a petition, the government must consider whether the jamming device would interfere with the work of local first responders or other public safety or emergency personnel.

U.S. Congressional Legislation: Firearms

- A bill (S. 205) introduced by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) would establish a government program—Project Gunrunner—under the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The initiative would be charged with investigating and prosecuting those involved in the trafficking of firearms across the border between the United States and Mexico.

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