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Legal Report

- Judicial opinions on negligent hiring and premises liability, and Congress considers bills on bioterror, security guards, and emergency management.

Communications

- A bill (A.B. 1848) in California would require that state officials provide an annual report to lawmakers on the state’s interoperable public safety communications network. Existing law says that such as system must be established using federally specified frequencies to ensure that first responders can communicate during an emergency.

Employment

- A  New Jersey law (formerly S.B. 1123) will protect employees from intimidation over religious and political matters. The law makes it illegal for employers to require that workers attend meetings or participate in communication about political or religious issues. The law is intended to combat the practice of holding mandatory meetings to discuss religion or express support for a political candidate or point of view. The law also protects employees from retaliation if they raise concerns about activity that might violate the law.

Chemical facilities

- A bill (H.R. 5695) introduced by Rep. Daniel Lungren (R-CA) that would require that the DHS categorize dangerous chemicals as substances of concern has been approved by the House Homeland Security Committee. It is still pending in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Security guards

- Citing the reliance companies have placed in private security officers since 9-11, Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ) has introduced a bill (H.R. 5893) that would require employers to obtain a federal criminal records check on all contract and proprietary security guards.

Bioterrorism

- A bill (S. 2825) introduced by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-MN) would require that the government award grants to improve the health of those living on the U.S. border with Mexico.

Emergency management

- A bill (H.R. 5351) introduced by Rep. David Reichert (R-WA) would establish a Directorate of Emergency Management within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The bill has been approved by the House Homeland Security Committee. However, it is still under consideration in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Port Security

- A port security bill (H.R. 4954) has been approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate and signed into law by President Bush.

Negligent Hiring

- A South Carolina court has ruled that an employer could not be held liable for failure to conduct a background check on an employee who later stole from a company client.

Legal Report

- A man beaten by guards sues the guard provider, Florida passes a law on alarm monitoring, new rules are rolled out on electronic discovery, and more.

Alarm monitoring

- A new Florida law (formerly H.B. 1351) requires that all alarm monitoring companies attempt to contact property owners on two different phone numbers before calling for police assistance. The law, designed to help reduce the number of false alarms, is the first state law of its kind in the country, though many municipalities have already enacted similar provisions.

Background screening

- A bill (S.B. 2002) would require that all applicants to any North Carolina university undergo a criminal records check. The bill, the first of its kind in the nation, was introduced after two University of North Carolina students were killed by their classmates. Both murderers had lied on their applications and denied having a criminal record to gain admission.

Data protection

- A bill (H.R. 4157) that is designed to improve the coordination and protection of health information has been approved by the House Ways and Means Committee. It is not yet clear whether the measure will continue on to a full vote in the House of Representatives.
 




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