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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


- 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.

Aviation security

- A bill (H.R. 4439) that would overhaul the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to increase aviation security has been approved by the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Cybersecurity. The bill must now be taken up by the full committee to proceed. The bill would require that the TSA reorganize to focus resources on areas that are at greatest risk of terrorist attack and would mandate that the TSA create a program to instantaneously prescreen all international passengers traveling to the United States. The bill would also allow state and local governments to compete with federal contractors to provide airport security. Under the bill, the TSA would be required to create new training standards to help those who check documents to recognize fraudulent identification. Under the measure, the government would create an independent agency within the TSA to focus on airline passenger and baggage screening.

Document fraud

- A bill (S. 2631) introduced by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) would prohibit the production, transfer, possession, and use of false travel documents. The bill has no cosponsors and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Port security.

- A port security bill (H.R. 4954) has been approved by the House of Representatives. The Senate has placed the measure on its calendar, meaning that it will consider the bill. The bill, which will cost $7.4 billion, was approved by the House of Representatives with most of its original provisions intact.

Worker ID

- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has issued a proposed rule relating to the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC). Under this program all people who have unescorted access to secure areas of ports and vessels will be required to carry the TWIC card. As set out in the rule, TSA would collect names, personal information, fingerprints, and photos on all applicants for the card. TSA would also perform background checks including those for criminal history, terrorist activity, immigration status, and outstanding warrants. The TWIC will be a smart card and will include a biometric feature. According to the proposed rule, more than 750,000 people will be required to obtain the card. The TSA expects that workers will have to pay approximately $139 to obtain the TWIC card. The card will be valid for five years. @ To read the entire proposed rule, visit SM Online.

Nuclear Facilities

- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has announced its plan to formulate a new rule to guide risk assessments at nuclear power facilities. The risk assessments, which will be performance-based and technology-neutral, will be required before a facility can be issued a license by the NRC. The advance notice of the rulemaking does not set out the specifics of the plan. Instead, the NRC is asking for comments on whether the concept of the plan is reasonable and, if so, how it should be designed and implemented. The comment period expires December 29, 2006. @ read the advance notice of the proposed rule.

False Arrest

- A false arrest practical joke gone bad was not grounds for a lawsuit against the company, said a court.

Identity theft.

- Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has offered several proposals designed to combat identity theft in the state. The proposals are currently under review by state agencies. They will subsequently be introduced in the Minnesota Legislature.

Aircraft security

- A bill (H.R. 4353) introduced by Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) would require that all passengers flying on aircraft that is also carrying uninspected cargo be notified by DHS. The passengers would be told that the aircraft’s cargo has not been screened for explosives or other hazardous materials.


- A bill (H.R. 4877) introduced by Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) would require that the Attorney General conduct a study on how private entities and state and local governments store explosive material that has been shipped via interstate commerce. After completing the study, the government would establish regulations for minimum security standards required for the safe and secure storage of such materials. Violation of the regulations would be punishable by a fine of $500 per pound of explosives.

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