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Mine Safety

- The law requires that mine operators adopt and maintain an accident response plan for when miners are trapped. Under the law, the plan must include redundant local communications systems, emergency air supplies, escapeways, emergency training, and wireless communications systems to allow contact between trapped miners and officials on the surface.

Port security

- A port security bill (H.R. 4954) was signed into law by President Bush becoming P.L. 109-347. The law requires that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) develop and implement a strategic plan to enhance maritime security.

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.
 




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