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New Homeland Security Work Rules Blocked

Employee, Union Rights Not Protected, Judge Says By Stephen Barr Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 15, 2005;

The Department of Homeland Security, after more than two years of work on new workplace rules, may have to scrap the plan after a federal judge questioned whether it protects union and employee rights. The rules were scheduled to begin today but were blocked by U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer in a ruling released Friday night. A spokesman for the department, Larry Orluskie, said officials are to meet today and "consider next steps." Talk about an appeal or other options would be premature until government lawyers study the decision, he said. ( read more )

DHS pushes pay-for performance back a year

The Homeland Security Department announced Wednesday [September 7] that it will delay implementation of its new pay-for-performance system for some employees by a year. Employees who are part of the first wave of personnel reform will not receive their first performance-based pay raises until January 2008. That group consists of workers from DHS headquarters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, according to DHS. (Read more)

Social Security Legislation

Could Be Shelved National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Thomas M. Reynolds will recommend to the House Republican leadership that the party drop its effort to restructure Social Security, at least for this year, House Republican aides confirmed yesterday. (Read more)

Senators Concerned Bush Administration Is Overreaching With New Pay System

A key Senate chairman yesterday signaled that she has doubts about Bush administration plans for a new government-wide pay system that would require more rigorous job performance ratings of employees. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, asked whether the administration considered using pilot projects, which can be authorized by the Office of Personnel Management, as a way to work toward its goal of replacing the decades-old General Schedule pay system with a performance-based approach.

Judge rejects DHS attempt at revising personnel rules By Karen Rutzick

A federal judge ruled Friday that the Homeland Security Department's labor relations reforms cannot go forward, despite an attempt by the department to remove portions of the proposal previously ruled illegal. Rosemary Collyer, a judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, told DHS that its revised labor relations scheme did not go far enough in providing collective bargaining rights—specifically binding contracts—for department employees. In her original ruling, Collyer focused on the department's authority to declare negotiated contracts void at any time after completion. The Homeland Security Department removed that language from its revised regulations, but the judge remained unconvinced.
Full story:

New Energy Bill

Senate Approves Energy Bill On June 28, 2005, the Senate overwhelmingly approved a wide-ranging energy bill that provides billions in tax breaks to encourage domestic energy production, incentives for conservation and more federal authority for approving new liquefied natural gas terminals and electric transmission lines. While the Senate measure provides some incentives for the oil and natural gas industry, it focuses heavily on promoting cleaner and renewable sources of energy and includes a non-binding resolution calling for mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions -- a first for lawmakers. The legislation was approved 85 to 12 after floor debate that took place over the past two weeks. ---read more


 

Medicare Rx Education Network Launches Effort to Educate About New Medicare Drug Coverage

WASHINGTON, July 19 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Medicare Rx Education Network was launched today at a press conference in Washington, D.C. The network of 40 national organizations is chaired by former U.S. Senator John Breaux, senior counsel at Patton Boggs. The network will share resources, coordinate activities and disseminate information to Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers about the new Medicare Part D drug coverage. Read more.


Historic Voting Rights Conference Set for July 25-26

Elected officials, opinion makers, community leaders, and grassroots activists will gather in Washington later this month to discuss the role the Voting Rights Act has played and continues to play in transforming communities, including the importance of the Act's special provisions.

The timing of the conference coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Act, widely considered to be one of the most successful civil rights laws in the nation's history. ---read morecivilrights.org


Members of House Offers Plan for Social Security

On June 23, House Republican leaders embraced a new approach to Social Security restructuring that would add individual investment accounts to the program, but on a much smaller scale than the President’s plan. The new accounts would be financed by the Social Security surplus—the amount of payroll tax revenue not needed to pay current benefits. That money is now used to fund other government activities and is expected to run out after 2016 as the baby-boom generation retires.----read more


Senate Issues Apology

On June 13, the U.S. Senate passed Resolution 39, Resolution of Apology for the Senate's Failure to adopt Anti-Lynching Legislation, a formal apology for its repeated failure, despite the requests of seven presidents, to enact a federal law to make lynching a crime.  A federal law would have allowed the government to intervene but Southern senators used the filibuster for decades.  The filibuster is a tactic, allowed only in the Senate, to delay or prevent a vote by time-consuming talk. It can be stopped only by a 60-member vote of the senators present and voting. ---read more


BIG Meets Rep. John Conyers

On June 16, 2005, the Blacks In Government (BIG) National Legislative Committee Chair, Glenn Smith, and Committee Member, Pat Swailes along with First Vice President, Matthew Fogg, met with senior U.S. Representative, Congressman John Conyers in his office at the Rayburn Office Building in Washington, D.C. This meeting was a follow-up to BIG's support of HR 40, Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act.









Photo Identification (left to right): Pat Swailes,
Matthew Fogg, Rep. John Conyers and Glenn Smith

 
 
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