Legislative Alert - Thursday, May 11th, 2017: Marijuana, Social Media, and Background Screening Doctors
- Congress Uses Spending Bill to Protect the Budding Marijuana Industry
- Social Media Screening for National Security?
- Colorado Effort to Screen Doctors Fails
Congress Uses Spending Bill to Protect the Budding Marijuana Industry
Lawmakers are famous for sliding all kinds of unrelated things into the legislation they craft. Usually that means pork barrel projects to enrich their districts. This time, they used the appropriations law meant to avoid a government shutdown to tie the hands of Attorney General Jeff Sessions when it comes to fighting the growing marijuana industry. Sessions is on record saying that unlike his predecessor, he plans to uphold federal marijuana laws regardless of what states have decided. But lawmakers included wording in the new law that would block the Department of Justice from spending money to prevent states from implementing their marijuana laws. This bill is just a temporary patch to keep spending policies in place until the new appropriations process starts in the fall. At that time, marijuana proponents are expected to present an amendment that would take things a step further and limit the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from busting recreational marijuana operations where it is legal under state law.
Related Webinar Recording: Stand Firm to Marijuana in the Workplace
Social Media Screening for National Security?
Next week EBI is hosting a webinar to teach employers the right way to use social media searches to vet potential hires. Now, the federal government is considering doing the same thing to screen visa applicants. Under a proposal by the US Department of Homeland Security, applicants from 7 countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) will be required to submit all of the social media handles they have used over the last 5 years. Applicants can refuse to turn over the information but they will have to explain why. Officials note that several recent attacks including the San Bernardino shooting were hinted at on social media. The plan still has to undergo a review by the Department of Homeland Security.
Related Upcoming Webinar: How to Set Up Your Social Media Screening Policy & Evaluate the Findings
Colorado Effort to Screen Doctors Fails
A bill that would have required all Colorado healthcare professionals, including MDs, to undergo a background check died in the State Senate. The Patient Safety Act would have required 160,000 current doctors, nurses, dentists, dental hygienists, nurse aides, physician’s assistants, optometrists, podiatrists and veterinarians to submit to a fingerprint-based criminal background check to get or renew their licenses. Colorado is one of only 6 states that don’t require some kind of criminal check for physicians.