New bill would allow agencies to fire employees found guilty of sexual assault

In today's Federal Newscast, new legislation from Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) would give agencies the authority to fire employees and contractors convicted or cre...

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  • New legislation from Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) would give agencies the authority to fire employees and contractors convicted or credibly found to have committed sexual assault while in government. She introduced the Compulsory Requirement to Eliminate Employees who are Perpetrators of Sexual Assault, or CREEP Act. Employees would first get the chance for a hearing before removal. The bill would also prohibit bonuses, promotions or raises to employees who have committed sexual assault. (Sen. Joni Ernst)
  • The Office of Personnel Management has asked agencies to submit new data on how much and for what purposes they’re using official time. The data requirements are part of the president’s 2018 executive order on official time,  which authorizes taxpayer-funded union time only in amounts that are reasonable, necessary, and in the public interest and to monitor its use to see that it is used efficiently. OPM said it will analyze agency official time data and prepare a detailed report by June 2020. Agencies who have seen noticeable increases in official time use must explain why. (Chief Human Capital Officers Council)
  • The bill to codify the continuous diagnostics and mitigation (CDM) program has made it through its first hurdle. The House Homeland Security passed Congressmen John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) and Ro Khanna’s (D-Calif.) Advancing Cybersecurity Diagnostics and Mitigation Act yesterday. The legislation makes the CDM program permanent and expands the capabilities the Homeland Security Department can provide to state and local governments. The Senate version of the CDM bill still hasn’t made it out of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. (House Homeland Security Committee)
  • The largest conservation grant maker would get a long term reauthorization under a new bill. The legislation from Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Don Young (R-Wyo.) would fund the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through fiscal 2024. NFWF was created 35 years ago and supplements federal conservation efforts through public-private partnerships and competitive grant programs. (Rep. Debbie Dingell)
  • If a commercial company actually ever achieves quantum computing, federal research laid the groundwork. Google, publishing its results in the magazine Nature, said it worked with a University of California physicist to perform a calculation that would have taken the fastest supercomputer 10,000 years to finish. U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios writing in Fortune, said Google’s achievement builds on the work of the Energy Department’s national labs, the National Science Foundation, NASA, and other research agencies.
  • Lawmakers, interest groups and military officials have indicated their support for more parity of benefits between National Guard and reserve service members and active duty troops. In a recent congressional hearing, the stakeholders said different operational orders and red tape are keeping guard and reserve troops from receiving the same pay for the same job as their active duty counterparts. Some groups have also advocated for free TRICARE for guard and reserve members. (Federal News Network)
  • Service members now have more time to finish the Transition Assistance Program when they are leaving the military. Previously, TAP could only be started 89 days before leaving the service. Now troops have 12 to 15 months to complete the program. TAP also added a face-to-face interview to fine-tune the level of assistance a service member will require and a questionnaire to identify needs. (Air Force)
  • The Pentagon plans some major contracts to start experimenting with 5G technologies on military bases. DoD plans to issue a draft request for proposals next month in preparation for a final RFP in December. Officials want vendors to help conduct tests on four U.S. bases. They’re looking for experiments to help prove out three different use cases: “smart warehouses,” augmented reality-based training, and sharing wireless spectrum with high-powered radar. Defense officials aren’t saying how much the contracts will be worth, but the Pentagon has previously said it plans to spend north of $400 million on 5G development in the coming year. (Federal News Network)
  • Veterans Affairs will launch an online marketplace to showcase 53 best practices, ideas and innovative tools developed by VA employees. VA said the goal is to allow medical centers to ACCESS the many ideas and practices that have been implemented at dozens of other VA medical centers across the country. Many ideas and practices have picked up steam and have been implemented at dozens of VA medical centers across the country. VA said the goal is to allow other medical centers to see these ideas, and the costs and timelines associated with them… to give them a better sense of whether they could be implemented at their organizations. The VA Diffusion of Excellence Marketplace will go live in January. (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • The Veterans Health Administration has detailed its plan to transform how it delivers healthcare. VHA’s Integrated Healthcare Transformation contract aims to bring to bear a mix of technology and consulting services to modernize how it delivers healthcare to veterans. The request for proposals calls for services ranging from electronic health records management to how emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence could transform health care delivery to analytics and mental health prevention. According to Bloomberg Government, the multiple award contract could be worth $1 billion over 10 years. Capability statements for this service-disabled Veteran-owned small business contract are due by Oct. 29. (FedBizOpps)
  • An Internal Revenue Service watchdog has told the agency it must make security of taxpayer data its top priority. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, J. Russell George, said the IRS is working to improve its e-authentication for taxpayers to access their information online. But the agency’s public-facing systems still don’t comply with mandatory 2017 guidance from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Out of nearly 70 critical and high-risk vulnerabilities it found in one month, TIGTA said more than a quarter were easily exploitable. (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration)
  • A former IRS employee has been sentenced to 32 months in prison for evading taxes and obstructing the IRS. Craig Orrock was convicted last May for not paying federal income taxes for over 20 years. In addition to the prison sentence, he’s also ordered to pay back more than $900,000 in restitution. (Department of Justice)

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