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First responders

- A bill (H.R. 1646) introduced by Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) would dedicate certain radio frequencies for use by first responders and public service agencies. The Federal Communications Commission would have to dedicate some existing frequencies and assign new frequencies for this use by January 1, 2007.

Transportation security

- The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held hearings on a proposed transportation security bill (S. 1052) that would require the Homeland Security Department to establish a task force to conduct a vulnerability and risk assessment of freight and passenger rail transportation systems

Legal Report

- Rulings on a zero tolerance policy for workplace violence and sexual harassment; federal guidance on avoiding family-obligation discrimination; plus legislation on gun control, courthouse security, and privacy.

Discrimination

- The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a female employee missed the chance to sue her employer for paying her less than her male counterparts over a nine-year period because she did not file her case within 180 days of the offense. The court said the clock started ticking from the day she got the job, rather than being reset with each new paycheck. This is a departure from years of discrimination case law. The only way to have a current claim against years of discriminatory pay would be for the plaintiff to show that recent decisions, such as raises or promotions, were discriminatory. (Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., Inc., U.S. Supreme Court, No. 05-1074, 2007)

RFID

- A bill (S.B. 29) that would prohibit schools from requiring that students wear RFID badges has been approved by the California Senate and is pending in the California Assembly’s Judiciary Committee.

Domestic Violence

- Florida Governor Charlie Crist has signed a law (formerly H.B. 55) that requires employers to allow workers to take up to three days off a year to deal with domestic violence issues. However, it is up to employers to determine whether these days are paid or unpaid.

Privacy

- A bill (H.R. 948) introduced by Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) that would protect the privacy of Social Security numbers has been approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It is now pending before the House Ways and Means Committee.

Agriculture Security

- A bill (H.R. 1717) introduced by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) that would establish a national agricultural and biodefense facility has been approved by the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology. The bill will now move to a vote before the full committee. H.R. 1717 has also been referred to the House Agriculture Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Courthouse Security

- A bill (H.R. 660) that would increase courthouse security has been approved by the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. It will now proceed to the full committee for a vote. The bill was introduced by Sen. John Conyers (D-MI), who chairs the Judiciary Committee.

Gun Control

- In response to the Virginia Tech shootings, the House of Representatives has approved a bill (H.R. 2640) introduced by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) that would require all states to submit information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

Workplace Violence

- The California Court of Appeal has ruled that an employee who was fired after making a workplace violence complaint against a coworker may sue his employer for a violation of public policy. The court ruled that the employer’ s actions violated public policy when it failed to take steps to address credible workplace violence threats. (Franklin v. The Monadnock Company, California Court of Appeal, No. B191267, 2007)

Legal Report

- Rulings on negligence stemming from an employee's injury during a bank robbery and malicious prosecution, plus legislation covering data mining and RFID.

Legal Report

- Judicial decisions on false imprisonment and discrimination, and legislation on healthcare, genetic discrimination, rail, healthcare, and courthouse security.
 




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