Panel rules veterans may be able to file class action lawsuits against VA

In today's Federal Newscast, the U.S. Court of Appeals opens up the possibility for veterans to file suit collectively, instead of as individuals.

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  • The U.S. Court of Appeals opened up the possibility for veterans to file suit collectively, instead of as individuals. A panel of judges on the Court of Veterans Appeals said veterans could file class action lawsuits for appropriate cases in the future. The decision could have big implications for veterans awaiting a decision on their claims. The judges acknowledged situations where a common cause is behind the delay for several veterans’ claims. (U.S. Court of Appeals)
  • A federal district judge ruled nine key provisions in the president’s executive orders on collective bargaining, official time, and employee removals are invalid. The U.S. District Court for D.C issued a highly-anticipated decision on a legal challenge to the president’s EOs from a coalition of over a dozen federal unions. Judge Ketanji Jackson said the president didn’t overstep his executive or constitutional authority by issuing the executive orders. But nine key parts of them conflict with what Congress originally intended for federal labor-management relations. (Federal News Radio)
  • An agency watchdog said the IRS could do more to fight business identity theft. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said the IRS paid over $200 million in potentially fraudulent tax refunds to more than 15,000 businesses in 2017. TIGTA said the agency doesn’t evaluate employment tax returns for signs of identity theft. (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration)
  • Agencies are confident they’ll meet an upcoming deadline to make the government less dependent on paper records. A new report from the National Archives and Records Administration shows 98 percent of agencies think they’ll manage all permanent records in an electronic format by the end of 2019. The deadline is part of NARA’s Federal Electronic Records Modernization Initiative, or FERMI. The agency said it’ll stop accepting non-electronic records in 2022. (Federal News Radio)
  • There are new steps federal contractors should take to comply with compensation and affirmative action practices. The Labor Department issued new initiatives including one which sets up new steps contractors should take to ensure they have an affirmative action program. Another initiative launched a new program to recognize contractors who are good models for compliance. Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs said it was concerned previous directives didn’t give contractors the guidance they needed. (Department of Labor)
  • The Senate is enlisting white hat hackers for one of its newest networks. It’s moving to a Voice over IP network and needs help making sure it is secure. The Sergeant at Arms releases a solicitation for a contractor to perform a Cyber Resiliency and Risk Assessment for Senate’s VoIP network. The vendor will perform five tests, including mapping and identifying all active devices on the network, and identifying wireless networks and attempting to gain access through them. Additionally, the contractor will assess IT vulnerabilities and recommend ways to fix them. Responses to the RFP are due by Sept. 7. (FedBizOpps)
  • The Senate wants to add some independent oversight of the Defense Department’s $5.5 billion electronic health record. An amendment added to the Senate’s latest “minibus” appropriations bill would require the Government Accountability Office to conduct an in-depth review of MHS Genesis within the next six months. Senators approved the provision 95-0. They want GAO to analyze how the system’s been working at the four hospitals and clinics where it’s been deployed so far, and describe what DoD has done to remedy problems after initial tests found the system to be “not operationally effective.”
  • The Army’s Futures Command is officially a reality. The command is now in initial operating capability and headquartered in Austin, Texas. Futures Command leader General John Murray assumed command Friday and received his fourth star. The command will have one year to reach full operating status. (Department of Defense)
  • The Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center awarded a big contract for cybersecurity supplies and services. The long-anticipated indefinite delivery – indefinite quantity deal goes to five companies. They’ll support SPAWAR’s Cyber Mission. Winners in the nearly billion-dollar deal are Cambridge International, Grove Resource Solutions, People Tec, Systems Technology Forum and UEC Electronics. They’ll supply wireline and wireless communications monitoring equipment plus sustainment and maintenance worldwide. The contract is for five years plus two option years. (Department of Defense)

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