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law 20 articles

Railroad injuries and deaths in Minnesota spark safety debate

Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) recently featured a glimpse of a danger that runs through several Minnesota communities as it does throughout most of the country – unfenced railroad tracks that transect urban areas, towns, and in some cases run alongside playgrounds and fields where children play. According to MPR, Minnesota has a law that was enacted in the late 1800s requiring railroad companies in the state to fence their tracks. Although the law was instituted in an effort to protect cattle in rural areas, in modern times the law is needed more to protect people from injury and death. The ... Read More

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

SEC awards first whistleblower under new fraud-busting law

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) awarded its first payout under a new whistleblower program to an individual who provided the regulatory agency with information that helped expose an active Ponzi scheme. The whistleblower received $50,000 for handing over documents that provided specific, credible, and timely information to the SEC, which prompted the agency to take enforcement action against the offending company. In awarding the informant, the SEC chose to pay the maximum percentage allowable under the law – 30 percent of $150,000 it has so far recovered in the case. Additional court-ordered sanctions against the company amount to more ... Read More

OSHA advisory committee to strengthen whistleblower protections

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced it plans to establish a Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee to help inform the agency on ways to improve the whistleblowing protections it offers to those who have taken a stand against corporate fraud. “Workers who expose securities and financial fraud, adulterated foods, air and water pollution, or workplace safety hazards have a legal right to speak out without fear of retaliation, and the laws that protect these whistleblowers also protect the health, safety and well-being of all Americans,” Dr. David Michaels, OSHA’s assistant secretary of labor said in a statement. “Establishing ... Read More

Alabama governor signs concussion bill into law

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed a new bill into law this month that aims to reduce the number of concussions among state athletes and mitigate the damage that these mild head injuries can cause over the long term. Members of the Alabama Statewide Sports Concussion Taskforce (ASCT) helped write and sponsor the legislation with the help of several state legislators and Steve Savarese, director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association. The new bill passed amid rising concerns that athletes aren’t adequately protected from concussions during play. Many players also return to the game too soon after ... Read More

Florida bill lets automakers off hook, burdens taxpayers

Last month, the Florida State Senate approved a bill that makes it much more difficult for people harmed by automotive defects to hold carmakers responsible for their injuries. The legislation, which the St. Petersburg Times considers to be the latest attack in the “interminable war” waged by Republican legislators against trial lawyers, will actually hurt Floridians by removing liability for car crash victims from carmakers and placing it on the shoulders of Florida taxpayers. The Crashworthiness Doctrine mandates that because vehicular crashes are inevitable, automakers must be held to a duty to keep the safety of crash victims in mind ... Read More

Proposed HOS changes draw fire from all sides

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s latest Hours-of-Service revisions, which the agency hopes will drive down the numbers of fatigue-related commercial truck and bus crashes, have been criticized by industry professionals and safety advocates alike. Speaking for most commercial carriers, the American Trucking Association says the proposed HOS changes are “overly complex, chock full of unnecessary restrictions on professional truck drivers, and, at [their] core, would substantially reduce trucking’s productivity.” The national safety advocate Public Citizen took the opposite stance, saying that while the new rules are better for public safety than those adopted by the Bush Administration, they don’t ... Read More

NHTSA may soon require safety belts in all new motor coaches

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed requiring safety belts in all new passenger buses and large school buses. The lap and shoulder belts would be mandatory on all passenger seats and the driver’s seat as well. The proposal, which would amend the federal motor vehicle safety standard on occupant crash protection (FMVSS No. 208), is intended to prevent the ejection of bus occupants in a crash or rollover. If passed, the measure is expected to prevent nearly 800 injuries and save 8 lives annually. The proposal estimates the total cost of adding belts, changing the anchorages, and reinforcing ... Read More

New law would ban BP from new offshore drilling in U.S.

In a 27-21 vote, the House Natural Resources Committee has approved new legislation that would effectively ban BP from future offshore drilling leases in the United States and its territories. The bill, which also strengthens offshore drilling safety standards, now makes its way to the full House for a vote. “While the incident in the Gulf does not signal the end of drilling off America’s coasts, it certainly is a game changer and is proof positive that broad reforms are needed,” Representative Nick Rahall, a West Virginia Democrat and the panel’s chairman, said in a statement. Oil companies with a ... Read More

San Francisco law would expose cell phone radiation levels

San Francisco, California is poised to become the first city in the United States to order cell phone companies and manufacturers to disclose how much radiation their phones emit. Cell phone use has been linked to cancer and brain tumors by many medical researchers. Other researchers, however, say the studies are inconclusive or reject them outright. The city’s board of supervisors voted 10 to 1 earlier this week in favor of the new law, which would require cell phone vendors to publish the radiation emission levels of all wireless devices in their stores. Mayor Gavin Newsom is expected to sign ... Read More