INFORMATION

Site Map - Legislation

U.S. Federal Legislation: Intellectual Property

- The House Judiciary Committee has approved a bill (H.R. 4279) introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) that would increase penalties for theft of intellectual property. The bill would enhance criminal penalties for dealing in counterfeit labels or packaging. It would also enhance penalties for causing serious bodily harm or death while dealing in counterfeit goods or services.

U.S. Federal Legislation: National Security

- The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a bill (S. 2533) that would require the Executive Branch to obtain court approval from a federal court each time it invokes the state secrets privilege in a civil action as a way to prevent information from being released. Under the bill, the Executive Branch would also be required to provide a report to Congress on each item within 30 days of invoking the privilege. The full Senate has not announced whether it will take up the measure.

U.S. Federal Legislation: Genetic Discrimination

- A bill (H.R. 493) that would prohibit discrimination based on genetic information has been signed into law (P.L. 110-233) by the President. The law expands the prohibition against genetic discrimination by group health plans and health insurance providers.

Legal Report

- Rulings on whistleblowers' rights under Sarbanes-Oxley, retaliation, and background screening; plus legislation on infrastructure protection, rail safety, and terrorism.

U.S. Federal Legislation: Infrastructure Protection

- A bill (H.R. 1662) introduced by Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) that would provide funding for site security at some federal facilities has been approved by the House of Representatives and by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The full Senate has agreed to consider the measure.

State Legislation: Discrimination

- Lawmakers in the Wisconsin legislature are considering a bill (A.B. 260) that would make it legal to refuse to hire someone convicted of a sex crime regardless of whether the offense is related to the person’s job. Under existing state law, employers must show that a crime is substantially related to the job being sought before refusing to hire someone based on crimes uncovered in a background check.

U.S. Federal Legislation: Homeland Security

- A bill (H.R. 5552) introduced by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to issue reports to Congress on its efforts to improve homeland security by tightening U.S. borders.

U.S. Federal Legislation: Discrimination

- A bill (H.R. 1424) designed to require insurance companies to provide more comprehensive mental health coverage, includes a provision that would make it illegal for insurance providers to discriminate based on genetic information. The bill has been approved by the House of Representatives. The Senate has agreed to consider the measure.

Legal Report

- Rulings on discrimination, drug testing, and arbitration; plus legislation on border security, intellectual property, and identity theft.

State Legislation: New Mexico: Cyberstalking

- A bill (H.B. 9) currently pending in the New Mexico Legislature would establish a task force to study the use of technology by stalkers. The findings would be used to develop new laws to combat the crime.

U.S. Federal Legislation: Whistleblowers

- A bill (S.274) introduced by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) that would expand protection for government whistleblowers has been approved by the Senate. The House of Representatives has not indicated whether it will consider the bill.

U.S. Federal Legislation: Courthouse Security

- A bill (H.R. 660) that would increase courthouse security has been signed into law (P.L. 110-218). The law requires that the U.S. Marshals Service offer ongoing security advice to the judiciary. It authorizes additional funding to hire marshals to protect courthouses. In addition, the law makes it illegal to publicly disclose restricted personal information about a federal officer, witness, or juror with the intent to harm such individual. The law also makes it illegal to bring into the courtroom any item that could be used as a dangerous weapon.

U.S. Federal Legislation: National Security

- The Senate Judiciary Committee recently held a hearing on the Bush administration’s use of the state secrets privilege. Under the privilege, the government can keep information from becoming public if it believes that the data will harm national security. Witnesses at the hearing discussed  the concept of privilege as well as a bill (S. 2533) introduced by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) that would require that the executive branch obtain court approval from a federal court each time it invokes the state secrets privilege in a civil action to prevent information from being released. Under the measure, the executive branch would also be required to provide a report to Congress on each item within 30 days of invoking the privilege.
 




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