Site Map - Legislation

Rail security

- A bill (S. 2273) introduced by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that would improve security on U.S. railroads has been approved by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. The bill would authorize more than $1 billion in rail security improvements. Of that sum, $670 million would be allotted to help Amtrak complete security and safety upgrades to tunnels along the Eastern Seaboard. The Department of Homeland Security would be required to conduct a security assessment of rail systems in the United States.


- In a recent In a recent decision by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, a United Nations (UN) official has been allowed to sue The Washington Post for libel even though the case does not involve any Canadian interests. (Bangoura v. The Washington Post, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, No. 03-CV-247461CM1, 2004)

Legal Reporter

- Recent court decisions look at retaliation and injuries to security officers. Plus, legislation on mass-transit security, privacy, and more.


- In a recent federal decision, the court ruled that an employer may not inform employees about a mandatory arbitration policy via e-mail. The court determined that e-mail is not the same as traditional mail and that employers must have some way--such as a signature on a document--to prove that the employee has read and understood the policy. (Campbell v. General Dynamics, United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, No. 03-11848-NG, 2004)

Homeland security

- A proposed bill would require DHS to issue a national standard for emergency and disaster preparedness, security training, and recovery in the private sector.


-  The Connecticut Supreme Court has laid out the basis for accepting computer-generated information as evidence in a trial. The case involved a computer-enhanced bite mark on the victim's body and the bite mark of the accused murderer, which was accepted by the lower court as evidence. Attorneys for the defense had argued that the evidence should not have been admissible because a computer was used to alter the image, thus making it suspect. In ruling the image admissible, the court set out rules to guide future litigation. The court ruled that testimony must be given as to the computer used, the qualifications of the operators, the correct use of the equipment, and the clear identification of the enhancement process. (State v. Swinton, Connecticut Supreme Court, No. 16548, 2004)

Identity theft.

-  A bill introduced by Vermont lawmakers that would criminalize identity theft has been signed into law by Governor Jim Douglas. Under the new law, identity theft will become a felony. It will also be illegal to display Social Security numbers in public places. For example, liquor licenses will have to be redesigned with the owner's Social Security number omitted. The law will also allow victims of identity theft to freeze their credit information, making it a crime for a credit reporting agency to release further information without the consumer's authorization.


-  A California bill (S.B. 1834) would require businesses to notify patrons before using radio frequency identification technology (RFID) to track and collect information about customers. The bill would also require that all RFID tags be removed from merchandise before consumers leave the store. The bill has been approved by the California Senate and must now be taken up by the state assembly before moving forward.


- A bill (H.R. 4265) introduced by Rep. Mark Green (R-WI) would grant immunity from litigation to companies that donate equipment to charities. Under the law, companies could not be held liable for any death or injury arising from use of the donated equipment. Exceptions are made for injuries or death resulting from gross negligence or the intentional misconduct of the donating .

School security

- A bill (H.R. 4313) introduced by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) would authorize $75 million in grants to be allocated to public schools to establish programs to stop harassment based on an individual's actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender, family composition, or economic circumstances.


- Lawmakers on the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee have approved a bill (S. 2453) that would award grants to public transit agencies, including metro, rail, and bus services, to improve security. The bill must now be considered by the full Senate.

Homeland security

- A bill (S. 2635) introduced by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) would establish a federal grant program totaling $25 million to identify and develop new homeland security equipment, capabilities, technologies, and services. The money could also be used to further develop existing capabilities and conduct research into other options. For-profit businesses, academic institutions, and nonprofits would all be eligible to receive the grants. The bill would also require that the government conduct an assessment of federal, state, and local governments as well as first responders on all levels to establish their information, equipment, and technology needs.

High-risk organizations

- A bill (S. 2275) that would require the government to give security assistance to high-risk nonprofit organizations has been approved by the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. The bill must now be taken up by the full Senate.

Beyond Print

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