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Morning Security Brief: Drone Experiments, Gun Laws, and More

- A U.S. government agency experimented with the domestic use of drones back in 2004 and 2005, and New York claims to have enacted the strictest gun law in the nation.

Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Assault Weapons Ban

- Witnesses before the Senate Judiciary Committee testified in support of S. 150, which would ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition.

House Passes Bill to Continue Countermeasures Funding

- The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill that would continue funding government development of nuclear, chemical, and biological countermeasures.

Lawmakers Introduce 10 Firearms Bills in 10 Days

- While most of the measures aim to reduce this violence by controlling ammunition or access to automatic weapons, two bills take the opposite approach and would allow concealed weapons on school grounds.

President Approves New Laws on Trade Secrets and Surveillance

- The 113th Congress is officially underway. However, some old business from the 112th Congress is only now reaching President Barack Obama’s desk. He recently signed two bills, one on trade secrets and one on surveillance, into law.

Bills on Maritime Security and Baggage Screening Await President Obama's Signature

- Congress has presented a Coast Guard authorization bill and a bill on airline baggage screening to President Obama for his signature. The President is expected to sign both measures into law.

New Federal Laws Address Whistleblowers and Border Security

- President Barack Obama recently signed two bills into law. One of the laws improves security along the U.S. border with Mexico while the other expands whistleblower protections for federal employees.

Government Takes Steps to Address Discrimination Against Pregnant Employees

- A new bill would require employers to accommodate the limitations of pregnant workers and the EEOC makes pregnancy discrimination a key part of it’s strategic plan for 2012-2016.

Whistleblower Bills Would Protect Private Sector Employees

- Two bills introduced in Congress last week would extend protection to whistleblowers who expose mismanagement, fraud, or abuse in the private sector.

House Passes Appropriations Bill, Blocks Certain Programs

- The House of Representatives has passed an appropriations bill (H.R. 5326) that provides funding for several agencies but blocks implementation and enforcement of several key programs, including those that deal with age discrimination and the use of arrest and conviction records in preemployment screening.

Weapons

- A new Indiana law (formerly S.B 411) prohibits employers from asking prospective or current employees questions about firearm ownership. Employers may not ask whether the employee owns, possesses, uses, or transports a firearm or ammunition unless these activities are required to fulfill the employee’s job duties.

Corruption

- A bill (S. 401) that would revise the criminal code to strengthen penalties for bribery and corruption convictions has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will now be considered by the full Senate.

National Security

- A bill (S. 1125) to amend the Patriot Act, which was passed in the wake of 9-11, has been approved by the Senate Judiciary. The full Senate has agreed to consider the measure.The bill would revise the requirements for government access to business records in counterterrorism investigations by requiring the applicant to present a statement of facts and circumstances that justify the government’s belief that the records are relevant to an investigation. Currently the law allows the government to presume that such records are automatically relevant.  
 




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