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Legal Report Resources August 2016

Corruption. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that international organizations like the World Bank Group have immunity protections under Canadian law that prevents third-party access to their archives and personnel. “…the purpose for according immunity to international organizations and their personnel is to shield these organizations from member states,” the court wrote in its opinion.

Aviation. The U.S. Senate passed legislation that enhances aviation security and helps speed up the introduction of commercial drone usage. The bill (H.R. 636) reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) programs and powers through October 1, 2017, which were set to expire on July 15, 2016.

Utilities. The U.S. Senate passed a bill that gives the federal government greater power to protect the nation’s electric grid from cyberattacks. The bill (S. 2012) provides $100 million per year through 2025 for the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct research and develop digital defense testing programs.

Espionage. China sentenced a former computer technician to death for selling 150,000 classified documents to foreign spies. Huang Yu, 41, formerly worked for a research institute that specialized in cryptography in Chengdu, China. According to state media, he sold the documents, which included military codes for a profit of approximately $700,000.

Data protection. The European Parliament passed data protection legislation into law to create one, single rulebook for data protection in the European Union (EU). The regulation applies to all businesses that handle EU citizens’ data, even if the business is not based in Europe. It requires data controllers to implement the right to be forgotten, appoint a data protection officer, and a variety of other measures.

Concealed Carry. Tennessee enacted a law that allows staff and faculty at its public colleges and universities to be armed on campus, without Governor Bill Haslam’s signature. Under the new law (formerly S.B. 2376), faculty and staff with state-issued handgun carry permits can carry a concealed firearm on campus. Employees are required to notify the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the campus property prior to carrying a concealed handgun.

Termination. An appellate court ruled that a former Cleveland police patrolwoman fired for stabbing her boyfriend should be rehired. The court explained in its opinion that Shani Hannah should be rehired because an arbitrator showed that “other officers disciplined for either comparable conduct or far more egregious conduct than Hannah were able to keep their jobs.”

Demotion. The First Amendment prohibits employers from demoting employees it believes are engaged in protected political activity, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled. Jeffrey Heffernan, a former police detective, was demoted after being seen picking up a campaign sign for the current mayor’s political opponent. 

Background checks. Voters in Austin, Texas, rejected a ballot initiative that would have allowed Uber and Lyft to avoid running fingerprint-based background checks on their drivers. Proposition 1 would have allowed the two ride-sharing companies to self-regulate their drivers and bypass regulations requiring fingerprint checks as part of background checks—similar to those required for taxi drivers.