Legislative Alert - Wednesday, May 25th, 2016: Feds to Use Social Media in Security Clearance Investigations
- Feds Searching Social Media
- Giving Veterans Access to Medical Marijuana
- Lawmakers Try to Decipher "Impaired Driving"
- Sarasota Bans the Box
Feds Searching Social Media
Are you a federal employee with security clearance? Or are you hoping to be? Then you'll want to make sure there is nothing on your Facebook and Twitter accounts that wouldn’t pass muster. A new policy now allows federal investigators to look at social media sites during security clearance investigations. More than 20 federal agencies will be using the sites to learn more about candidates before hiring them, but they will not be allowed to ask for applicants’ passwords or access to private messages. They can only see what people share publicly.
Giving Veterans Access to Medical Marijuana
Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D) of Oregon and eight bipartisan cosponsors have introduced HR 667—the Veterans Equal Access Act. The bill would make it easier for veterans to access medical marijuana if they live in a state where it is legal. Right now, the VA actually prohibits doctors from filling out forms for medical cannabis -- even in states where it is available legally. In essence, a veteran’s friends and family might have access to the drug, but those who have served would be denied access simply because they get their healthcare through the VA. The lawmakers sponsoring this bill hope to get help to veterans suffering from PTSD and give another option to those who depend on opioids for pain relief.
Lawmakers Try to Decipher “Impaired Driving”
The State House in Michigan is trying to figure out how to handle drivers who might be under the influence of marijuana. If passed, House Bill 5024 would establish a commission whose goal would be to figure out a way to measure impaired driving. The commission would try to find an equivalent to the .08 blood alcohol content, or BAC, that is the threshold for drunk driving. This is not going to be an easy thing to accomplish. THC, the active component in marijuana, appears in a person’s bloodstream long after the “high” from the drug has worn off. A Michigan prosecutor says the presence of THC would only be one factor in determining impaired driving. Officers would also have to be trained to spot other signs of impaired driving to file charges.
Sarasota Bans the Box
The City of Sarasota, Florida is the latest to join the Ban the Box movement. City leaders say they will review applicants’ criminal histories, but that information will not be available until the very end of the hiring process. Pre-employment background checks will continue, and some positions will require a review of driving records and credit reports, but the city officials will be well aware of what a candidate can bring to a job before considering past offenses.