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Legal Report Resources October 2014


U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) has introduced H.R. 4871 to amend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 that was passed after 9-11 because of fear that the lack of available terrorism insurance could harm economic development. The measure would require the secretary of the treasury to consult with the secretary of homeland security and the attorney general when deciding whether to certify an act of terrorism.


The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment protects public employees from job retaliation when they are called to testify in court about official corruption. In a unanimous opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote, “the First Amendment protects a public employee who provided truthful sworn testimony, compelled by subpoena, outside the course of his ordinary job responsibilities.” The opinion continued, “public employees do not renounce their citizenship when they accept employment and…public employers may not condition employment on the relinquishment of constitutional rights.”


A U.S. federal judge has struck down the government’s procedures for people on the No-Fly List to challenge their inclusion as unconstitutional. In Latif v. Holder, the judge ordered the government to create a new process, calling the current process “wholly ineffective” and a violation of the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process.


The U.S. House of Representatives has passed an amendment (H. Amdt. 935) that would end the backdoor search loophole that allows the National Security Agency to search for the communications of U.S. citizens without a warrant. Along with closing the search loophole, the amendment would also prevent the NSA and CIA from requiring the placement of backdoors in products. This will bar the agencies from mandating that American companies alter products to allow surveillance.


The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has passed a cybersecurity bill that’s intended to help companies and the government thwart hackers and other cyber intrusions. Known as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), the bill (S. 2588) authorizes the voluntary sharing of cyber threat information by individuals and companies with each other and with the government.


A bill that would have allowed schools to propose bond issues to fund secure facilities for storm shelters failed to pass the Oklahoma State Senate. If HJR 1092 had passed, the bill would have allowed individual cities within the state the option to vote to help provide shelters and safe rooms in schools that could be used as storm shelters.


Canada’s Senate has passed legislation that greatly expands warrantless access to subscriber data, despite a ruling from the country’s Supreme Court that access to telecom subscribers’ personal information requires a court warrant. Called the Digital Privacy Act, or bill S-4, the measure seeks to amend the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act to require organizations to notify individuals and organizations of breaches in security safeguards that create a “real risk of significant harm.” Bill S-4 would also allow Internet service providers to share subscriber information with any organization that is investigating a possible breach of contract, such as a copyright violation or illegal activity.


A North Carolina security provider has agreed to pay $155,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Metro Special Police & Security Services, Inc., of Charlotte, will provide funds and other relief to three officers and other male employees that were subjected to sexual harassment by a male captain and a male lieutenant employed by the company, including offensive sexual comments, soliciting nude photos, and soliciting male employees for sex.


The University of Connecticut has agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle a lawsuit brought by five former and current female students who claimed the school mishandled their sexual assault complaints. The university has admitted to no wrongdoing.