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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.

First responders

- A bill (S. 1554) that would establish a grant program to improve overall communications equipment for first responders has been approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The measure will now be considered by the full Senate.

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.

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