Support builds for law to increase fed job access for ex-criminals

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  • Strong bipartisan support is showing in both the House and Senate for criminal justice reform that removes barriers to employment for people with a criminal record. The Fair Chance Act prohibits federal employers and contractors from asking about an applicant’s criminal history until after an initial offer of employment, with important exceptions for security positions. Proponents of the legislation said the law would increase access to employment for individuals who have paid their debt to society, which in turn reduces recidivism and strengthens families and communities. More than 70 million Americans — about one in three adults — have criminal histories and are potentially affected by hiring policies that unjustly eliminate them from consideration. (House Oversight)
  • The Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General said the National Park Service misused donations from its philanthropic partners to purchase food and drinks for employees’ social events and to purchase personal gifts. The IG office said under law, donations must be treated like appropriated funds and can only be used for official agency purposes. The watchdog office also found the National Park Service failed to report its total donations received over the past few years. (Oversight)
  • The Government Accountability Office said Congress should pass legislation requiring agencies to keep a single comprehensive source on political appointments. A new GAO study describing agencies’ struggles with tracking political appointees said agency data tracking the appointments and departures of political officials is inconsistent and scattered across multiple systems and organizations. “The public has an interest in knowing who is serving in the government and making policy decisions,” GAO said. (Federal News Network)
  • It’s been a month since President Donald Trump signed a 1.9 percent retroactive pay raise into law stemming from the government shutdown. So where is it? Some federal employee groups and some lawmakers have wondered the same thing. National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon said it shouldn’t take this long to update pay tables and implement the raise. NETU said it hasn’t received a response from the Office of Personnel Management about the timing of the pay raise since it asked for an update three weeks ago. Some lawmakers who asked OPM for an update said they haven’t heard back either. (NETU)
  • Nearly 50 House lawmakers said they will seek compensation for federal contractors who lost back pay during the government shutdown earlier this year. They are urging appropriations committee leadership to include a provision to provide back pay for federal contractors for the wages lost as a result of the recent 35-day partial government shutdown. Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), in a letter to Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-Texas), said federal workers were given back pay and that federal contractors and their families should not be penalized for a shutdown they did nothing to cause. (Rep. Gerry Connolly)
  • The Federal Trade Commissions issued its annual report claiming a long list of accomplishments in protecting privacy and data. The FTC listed everything from shutting down a revenge porn website to stopping deceptive practices on peer-to-peer payment systems. Over-zealous collection and marketing of personal information also preoccupied the FTC. The agency took on some large companies like Uber, PayPal and VTech Electronics, and it warned several companies away from collecting data about children. (FTC)
  • The Office of Management and Budget said it is putting the finishing touches on initial guidance to agencies for implementing the new transparency law that will install chief data and evidence officers — as well as statistical officials — at most large agencies. Jeff Schlagenhauf, OMB’s associate director for economic policy, said the agency expects to release the first piece of its guidance later this spring focused on prioritizing “cross-office collaboration.” During a speech at the Bipartisan Policy Center on Friday, Schlagenhauf said the law, The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act, has marked a “significant opportunity to fundamentally change the way that government does business.” (Federal News Network)
  • OPM said federal employees can now donate unused annual leave to their colleagues impacted by the November 2018 California wildfires. The option to transfer leave comes after the president declares a major disaster or emergency. This is the fourth time in recent months that OPM and OMB have established the emergency leave transfer program. The other authorizations were for Hurricane Michael, Hurricane Florence, and a separate authorization for the California wildfires. OPM said employees who need additional leave or have time to donate should contact their agencies rather than OPM. (Chief Human Capital Officers Council)
  • Erin Joe was named the new director of the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC) in the Office of the Director for National Intelligence. Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, appointed Joe last week to replace Tonya Ugoretz, who served as CTIIC’s first director since 2015. Joe comes to the center from the FBI where she was a senior executive over cyber operations, leading the bureau’s strategy and response to various nation-state cyber and cyberterrorism threats worldwide. (ODNI)
  • Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters was nominated by the president to become the next Supreme Allied Commander of Europe. With the promotion, Wolters would also be the chief of U.S. European Command. Wolters is currently serving as commander of U.S. Air Forces Europe. He would take over for Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, who has held the position of Supreme Allied Commander of Europe since 2016. (DoD)
  • A key web service the military uses to transfer sensitive data is back up and running after a several-months-long outage. The Army deactivated the AMRDEC SAFE website last fall after an unspecified security problem. It was widely used throughout DoD, and in the meantime, personnel were being told to encrypt and burn sensitive files to CDs and send them through the mail as a file-sharing workaround. The site is back up and running for at least the next six months, but the Defense Information Systems Agency said it is working on a long-term solution that would retain AMRDEC’s capability to send files between DoD and non-DoD users. (Navy)

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