INFORMATION

Site Map - Legislation

Terrorism Insurance

- Congress approved a law (P.L. 110-160) reauthorizing the government-based terrorism insurance program for seven more years. Under the law, the terrorism insurance program, which was slated to expire at the end of 2008, will be extended until the end of 2015. A study of how to move terrorism insurance into the private market had concluded that private terrorism insurance was highly unlikely in the foreseeable future and that the government program was the only way to provide such insurance.

Terrorism

- A new law (P.L. 110-53) implemented the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission that were not enacted in the prior Congress. Under the law, homeland security grants are to be allocated based on risk assessments undertaken by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Mitigating factors such as a large commuting population or tourist attractions can also affect grant allocation.

Infrastructure

- A bill providing funding for site security at some federal facilities has been included in a 2008 appropriations bill funding the Department of the Interior. The bill became P.L. 110-229. The law will allocate money to facilities operated by the Bureau of Reclamation to hire more security officers and to purchase equipment needed by those officers

Homeland Security

- A measure designed to track the use of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grant money was included in the DHS appropriations bill for 2008, which became law (P.L. 110-161). The provision requires that homeland security grant recipients submit quarterly reports describing the nature and amount of each expenditure made using grant funds. This information will be published and made available to the public on the DHS Web site.

Gun Control

- In response to the Virginia Tech shootings, the President signed a bill into law (P.L. 110-180) that would require all states to submit information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). According to lawmakers, the measure was necessary because not all states submit complete information. For example, not all states enter the records of those deemed mentally defective into the NICS system.

Genetic Discrimination

- A law (P.L. 110-233) expands the prohibition against genetic discrimination by group health plans and health insurance providers. The law also makes it illegal to request or require genetic testing for enrollment in an insurance plan or to base premiums on genetic testing.

Courthouse Security

- A law (P.L. 110-218) designed to increase courthouse security requires that the U.S. Marshals Service offer ongoing security advice to the judiciary. It authorizes additional funding to hire marshals to protect courthouses.

ADA

- A bill broadening the scope of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law (P.L. 110-325). Under the bill, key provisions of the ADA will be clarified. For example, current law provides that a person is considered disabled if an impairment substantially limits a major life activity.

U.K. Counterterrorism

- The House of Lords recently dropped from its new counterterrorism bill a provision that would have let the government hold terrorism suspects for 42 days before charging them. The current limit is 28 days. Read the legislation online.

Legal Report

- An overview of the legislation approved by the 110th Congress as well as measures that did not pass muster.

Legal Report

- Legal cases on discrimination and premises liability as well as legislation on cruise ship security, border protection, and security guards.

Elsewhere in the Courts: Religious Discrimination

- A federal appeals court has ruled that an employer did not discriminate against an employee who requested certain days and times off for religious observance. The company showed that it evaluated other positions within the company and alternative shifts but could not accommodate the employee because of seniority issues or union rules. (EEOC v. Firestone Fibers and Textiles, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, No. 06-2203, 2008)  

Elsewhere in the Courts: Premises Liability

- An apartment building owner is liable for the injuries sustained by a subcontractor who was crushed by an air conditioner he was trying to install. The court ruled that the building owner was liable even though he did not know the air conditioner was being installed and did not hire the plaintiff to work on the property. (Sanatass v. Consolidated Investing Company, New York Court of Appeal, No. 60, 2008)
 




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