Legal Report: Legislation
11/29/2011 - A bill (S. 1125) to amend the Patriot Act, which was passed in the wake of 9-11, has been approved by the Senate Judiciary. The full Senate has agreed to consider the measure.The bill would revise the requirements for government access to business records in counterterrorism investigations by requiring the applicant to present a statement of facts and circumstances that justify the government’s belief that the records are relevant to an investigation. Currently the law allows the government to presume that such records are automatically relevant.
11/29/2011 - A woman who was sexually assaulted while she was a patient in a psychiatric facility may pursue her negligence lawsuit against the hospital. The case was previously thrown out because it was deemed a medical issue to be pursued under a medical malpractice claim. A Tennessee appeals court disagreed, ruling that the case should be considered under a general negligence claim.
Legal Report: Legal Issues
11/19/2011 - The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that its medical marijuana law does not apply to private employers and does not protect employees from being fired for drug use. And OSHA issues a new directive on workplace violence.
10/28/2011 - Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has signed a new law (formerly S.B. 361) making it illegal for employers to use credit reports to make employment decisions. Employers would not be allowed to require employees or applicants to consent to a credit check.
Exceptions are made for financial institutions or any other industry where credit checks are required by law. Employers may also run checks if they believe employees are engaged in illegal activity or if the employer can provide evidence that the credit report is “substantially job-related.”
Legal Report: Workplace Violence
10/28/2011 - A new Connecticut law (formerly S.B. 970) requires healthcare facilities to conduct an assessment and then develop plans to prevent and respond to workplace violence. Employers must then train employees on the details of the programs. The law also requires that healthcare facilities maintain detailed records on workplace violence incidents and provide the number of incidents to the state’s health department. Under the law, any assaults on healthcare employees must be reported to local law enforcement within 24 hours.
Legal Report: Terrorism
10/28/2011 - A bill (H.R. 963) that would grant immunity to those reporting acts of terrorism has been approved by the House Judiciary Committee. The bill must now be taken up by the full House of Representatives.
Legal Report: IT Security
10/28/2011 - A bill (H.R. 2096) that would mandate government cybersecurity efforts has been approved by the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. The next step would be for the bill to be considered by the full House of Representatives.
Legal Report: Guards \ Security Officers
10/28/2011 - A bill (S. 1145) that would expand the government’s ability to prosecute U.S. contractors that commit criminal acts in other countries has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill must now be taken up by the full Senate.
Legal Report: Privacy
10/28/2011 - A bill (H.R. 1981) designed to thwart producers and consumers of online child pornography has been approved by the House Judiciary Committee. The House of Representatives has not announced whether it will consider the measure.
Legal Report: Crime
10/28/2011 - A jury holds a property owner liable for negligent security and orders it to pay a rape victim $1.28 million. Lawmakers consider legislation on government contractors, online privacy, and homeland security.
Legal Report: Legal Issues
10/24/2011 - A jury holds a property owner liable for negligent security and orders it to pay a rape victim $1.2 million, and lawmakers consider legislation on government contractors, online privacy, and homeland security.
09/29/2011 - Maine Governor Paul LePage signed a law (formerly H.B. 35) making it illegal for employers to prevent employees from storing concealed firearms in their cars on company property. Under the bill, the employee must have a valid permit to carry a concealed firearm. The vehicle must be locked and the firearm out of sight.
The law also provides immunity to companies. Employers cannot be held liable for damages, injury, or death resulting from the stored firearms even if the firearm is stolen from an employee’s car. An exception is made in cases where the employer or an agent of the employer intentionally solicits or procures an action that causes injury.
Legal Report: Public-Private Partnerships
09/29/2011 - A bill (H.R. 2342) introduced by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) would establish a National Center for Campus Public Safety. The center would train public safety agencies and their partners on campus crime issues and increase cooperation between law enforcement and mental health agencies. The center would be tasked with collecting and disseminating information about best practices in campus safety as well as developing protocols to prevent, respond to, and recover from emergencies on campuses.