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Chemical facilities

- A bill (S. 2145) introduced by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) that would enhance security at chemical facilities has been approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and the Senate has agreed to consider the measure.

Homeland security

- The appropriations bill (H.R. 5441) funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been approved by the House of Representatives and is now pending in the Senate.

Legal Report

- Federal appeals on cases involving intellectual property and employee monitoring, regulations on counterfeit drugs, and a new cargo security bill.

School safety

- A bill (A.B. 2809) pending before the California Assembly would require the state superintendent of schools to provide funds to school districts to promote school safety and reduce school violence. The bill would also require that the state department of education develop policies to prevent bullying and promote conflict resolution. The department would then make these policies available to individual schools.

Evacuation plans.

- A new Oklahoma law (formerly S.B. 1709) requires that cities and towns in the state develop evacuation plans. The plans must give instructions on how to evacuate all citizens in the case of a disaster and must be reviewed annually. The plans must also include risk assessments, training of personnel, and annual exercises. Each town will be required to maintain an office of emergency management, which will be responsible for communications, warnings, and damage assessments. Town citizens will be given a copies of the plan.

Counterfeit drugs

- A bill (S. 2668) introduced by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) would require that companies incorporate RFID tagging technology, tamper-indicating technologies, and security packaging into all prescription drugs. These technologies would be used only to authenticate the integrity of the drugs and would not be used to transmit any identifying information about healthcare practitioners, consumers, or advertisers. S. 2668 has no cosponsors and has been referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

Data security

- A bill (H.R. 4127) that would require that companies protect the personal information of customers has been approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the House Judiciary Committee, and the House Financial Services Committee. The bill has now been taken up by the full House. H.R. 4127 would require that any company that holds or transmits individuals’ personal information establish security to protect that information. The bill would also require that information brokers set up reasonable procedures to verify the accuracy of information they collect, assemble, or maintain. H.R. 4127 prohibits information brokers from obtaining or attempting to obtain personal information through false pretenses. The bill defines false pretenses as making false statements or representations or providing counterfeit, lost, stolen, or fraudulently obtained documents.

Cargo security

- Two cargo security bills (S. 2459 and H.R. 4954) are pending in Congress. The two are companion bills. Lawmakers are expected to merge the two into a single bill. S. 2459, the GreenLane Maritime Cargo Security Act, has been approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and has been taken up by the Senate. The bill would establish a program to certify all supply chain participants to increase security. The bill would also set minimum security standards for all cargo containers entering the United States and create a joint operations center to coordinate maritime commerce at a federal level. H.R. 4954, also referred to as the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act, or the SAFE Port Act, has been approved by the House and has now been taken up by the Senate. The bill would establish security standards for cargo containers and require nuclear and radiological detection screening at all U.S. seaports. The bill would also provide an extra $400 million annually in port security grants.

Mine safety

- A bill (S. 2803) designed to improve mine safety and protect the health of mine workers has been approved by both houses of Congress and is awaiting the President’s signature. The bill would require mine operators to adopt and maintain an accident response plan for when miners are trapped. Under the bill, the plan would include redundant local communications systems, emergency air supplies, escapeways, emergency training, and wireless communication systems to allow contact between trapped miners and officials on the surface. To encourage new technology, the bill would provide grants for those developing new mine safety equipment. S. 2803 would also establish an interagency working group to share technology, research, and developments in mine safety and emergency response.

Legal Report

- A grocery store wasn’t held liable for detaining a patron mistakenly accused of theft. Also, legislation on port security, counterfeiting, and helicopter safety

Immunity

- A bill (S.B. 186) currently under consideration in the West Virginia Legislature would provide employers immunity in disclosing information about former employees. Immunity would be waived, however, in cases where the former employer knowingly gives information that is false, disclosed with reckless disregard for the truth, deliberately misleading, or malicious.

Drug testing

- A bill (H.B. 1205) introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives would make it illegal to alter or falsify drug or alcohol test results. The bill would also create the crime of transporting a biological sample or adulterant with the intent of falsifying test results.

Helicopter safety.

- A bill (H.R. 4765) introduced by Rep. Anthony D. Weiner (D-NY) would require the government to designate an area at high risk for a terrorist attack as a high-threat helicopter-flight area. The government would screen all passengers and property transported from a high-threat flight area to a standard passenger helicopter. The screening would be equivalent to that provided for passengers and property carried aboard a domestic passenger aircraft. The bill would also require that the government develop a plan to conduct the screening, including acquiring equipment and hiring and training personnel. H.R. 4765 has no cosponsors and has been referred to the House Homeland Security Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
 




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