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Senate Committee passes bill to extend anti-discrimination protections to LGBT workers

A bipartisan bill that would ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity has passed a Senate Committee by a vote of 15 to 7. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, known as ENDA, received the support of all 12 Democrats and 3 Republicans on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. The bill was co-sponsored by Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.). According to the Huffington Post, the committee spent just 10 minutes discussing the bill before voting it forward. The Committee Chairman, Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), said that the speed at which the bill passed ... Read More

Defense Department bill institutes better protections for whistleblowers

An estimated 12 million people who receive federal grants and contracts will now also receive whistle-blower protections and legal recourse under a new defense bill sent to President Barack Obama in December. The $633-billion bill, which passed the Senate 81-14, covers the cost of aircraft, ships, weapons, military personnel, Energy Department nuclear defense programs, and the war in Afghanistan. It also contains provisions that would help protect these federal funds against fraud and waste while offering whistle blowers better protections in reporting abuse. Under the new bill, workers who are fired or harassed for reporting fraud, waste, abuse, and ethical ... Read More

New bill restores and expands whistleblower protections to federal workers

President Obama signed a whistleblower bill into law Tuesday that makes sweeping changes to current laws by closing loopholes and offering greater protection to federal employees who blow the whistle on fraud, waste, and abuse in government operations. Passage of the far-reaching Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act marks the final stage of a 13-year effort by whistleblower advocates who fought court rulings that weakened whistleblower protections and made reporting fraudulent activity extremely risky. Supporters of the bill said that from October 1994 to May 2012 the court consistently undermined whistleblower protections and ruled in favor of whistleblowers only three times in ... Read More

Legislators agree on recovery and restoration plan for BP oil spill fine money

A landmark new bill that would direct billions of dollars in BP oil spill fine money to Gulf Coast recovery and restoration efforts cleared the Senate today with broad bipartisan support. Senators from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida — the Gulf states most affected by the BP oil spill – negotiated the long-awaited plan for months before coming to an agreement Thursday. The legislation is being welcomed throughout the country as a refreshing bit of progress made by a hyper-partisan government. The federal government will collect the funds under the Clean Water Act, which penalizes companies for polluting the nation’s ... Read More

Bill aims to protect young ATV riders from brain injury

Charleston, South Carolina’s WCSC reports that one local emergency room physician is giving his support to a proposed bill that would toughen restrictions for young riders of all-terrain-vehicles in that state. Dr. Keith Borg, an emergency room physician at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, told WCSC he would like to see less kids admitted to his hospital with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) caused by ATV accidents. “We can fix broken bones,” Borg told WCSC. “But we don’t have good treatments for traumatic brain injuries and those losses are devastating and life long.” According to South Carolina’s health ... Read More

Currents likely to carry oil up east coast, into atlantic

Carried by water currents, BP’s giant oil slick could hit the U.S. east coast in a few weeks and spread out across thousands of miles of Atlantic ocean, according to government scientists monitoring the spill. The government’s oil spill trajectory shows the slick traveling down Florida’s Gulf coast and around the state’s southern tip, where it enters the rapid Gulf Stream. It then mucks the eastern shoreline all the way to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina before veering east into the open Atlantic. Researchers based the model on the behavior of dye, rather than oil, in the water, but believe the ... Read More