Posts Tagged Richard Blumenthal

Dems split on new gun control push – The Hill – covering Congress, Politics, Political Campaigns and Capitol Hill | TheHill.com


Dems split on new gun control push

By Alexander Bolton 09/18/13 06:00 AM ET

  

Congressional Democrats are divided on whether to renew their push for gun control in the wake of Monday’s deadly shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.

Hours after Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Tuesday called for action on gun legislation, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he won’t seek a new vote.

Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who aggressively pushed his background check bill earlier this year, is skeptical that the upper chamber will revisit his measure.

As reports emerged that a former Navy reservist with a history of mental illness had fatally shot a dozen people, it appeared to give fresh impetus to the move for more gun control.

“It should be a call to action,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), an outspoken advocate of gun control legislation after the mass killing at Sandy Hook Elementary School in his state.

Durbin, who is Reid’s top deputy, suggested on Tuesday morning that a measure to expand background checks — which the Senate defeated in April — might have prevented the shooting.

“God forbid this becomes so commonplace we don’t stop and reflect and think about how to avoid it in the future,” he said. “I hope some members will reconsider their opposition.”

Democrats, however, facing tough reelections showed little inclination to shift their positions.

Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) said he wants to wait until investigators have finished their work before reevaluating his opposition on background checks.

Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) avoided questions about his stance on gun control legislation.

Pryor and Begich voted against expanding background checks earlier this year. The other two Democrats who voted “no” were Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.).

The FBI on Tuesday said that Aaron Alexis, whom police have identified as the sole gunman, entered the Navy Yard with a single shotgun before killing a dozen people. Alexis purchased the gun lawfully in Virginia, the FBI said, adding that there is no information to suggest he had an assault rifle. Alexis was killed soon after he opened fire.

Some Democrats may have been chastened by the results of an election earlier this month in Colorado, where voters recalled two state senators who supported tougher restrictions on firearms. The development was especially alarming for the left because pundits say the state has been trending blue in recent years.

A Senate Democratic aide said some in his party don’t want to talk about guns.

“Do vulnerable Democrats want to see this issue on the radar again? Probably not,” said the aide.

But the staffer said Pryor and Begich could attempt to spin the issue to their advantage by defying President Obama and the Democratic leadership.

Gun control advocates tried to use Monday’s shooting to build fresh political support for their cause.

“Our message to federal and state legislators: Strengthen and expand background checks for gun purchases and ban the military-style assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines so frequently used by mass killers,” said the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence in a statement.

Manchin, who co-sponsored a measure earlier this year with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) to expand background checks, told reporters that he has no plans to rush his bill back to the floor.

He said he did not know whether the Manchin-Toomey proposal would receive another vote during the 113thCongress, and tried to dispel the label that it’s a gun control effort.

“It’s not gun control,” he told reporters. “This is gun sense — nothing to do about gun control.”

Manchin said he first wants to be sure it will get 60 votes — enough to overcome a filibuster.

“We just have to have the support for it,” he said.  

It is clear that Democrats in both the House and Senate are focused on fiscal matters at the moment. And Monday’s shooting will not affect the legislative calendar.

Toomey issued a statement offering little guidance on the path forward.

“The Senate spoke on this issue and we came up five votes short. It is unclear if [Monday’s] tragedy changes the atmosphere sufficiently to yield a different outcome,” he said.

Reid signaled Tuesday he is not eager to revive a debate that roiled his caucus five months ago. 

“We’re going to move this up as quickly as we can, but we’ve got to have the votes first,” he told reporters. “We don’t have the votes. I hope we get them, but we don’t have them now.”

Monday’s shooting raised speculation that Senate Democrats could attempt to move legislation narrowly tailored to addressing mental illness as a cause of gun violence.But Reid said it is not possible to address mental illness without expanding background checks.

“No you can’t, you have to have background checks,” he said.

Reid argued Tuesday that Republicans and the gun rights lobby are primarily responsible for the legislative impasse on firearms.

“I’ve talked to people consistently and the thing that bothers me is the number of Republicans who say, ‘Yeah, we know you’re right but we can’t do anything about it,’ ” he added, referring to the power of the National Rifle Association and other groups.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the lead sponsor of the assault weapons ban, which received only 40 votes this spring, said she wants to see Reid bring gun violence legislation back up for a vote.

“I’d be happy if he did. I’m not going to tell him he should because I don’t want another loss,” she said. “If I can find 20 people who want to change their minds, I’m ready to go.” 


Dems split on new gun control push – The Hill – covering Congress, Politics, Political Campaigns and Capitol Hill | TheHill.com.

 

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House bill would ban bosses from asking for Facebook passwords – The Hill’s Hillicon Valley


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House bill would ban bosses from asking for Facebook passwords

By Brendan Sasso - 03/28/12 02:31 PM ET

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) is drafting legislation that would ban employers from asking for their workers’ Facebook passwords, his office confirmed Wednesday.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is planning to introduce a similar measure in the Senate.

According to recent media reports, there is a growing trend of employers demanding that job applicants provide passwords to their private Facebook accounts to check for embarrassing or damaging information.

The passwords give employers access to the users’ private messages, photos and the profiles of their friends.

Job applicants told the Associated Press earlier this month they felt they had to hand over their password or they would lose their chance at getting the job.

In a statement on Sunday, Sens. Blumenthal and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called the practice “disturbing” and said it “represents a grave intrusion into personal privacy.”

“A ban on these practices is necessary to stop unreasonable and unacceptable invasions of privacy,” Blumenthal said.

The senators asked the Justice Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate whether the practice violates the law.

Ryan Minto, a spokesman for Rep. McHenry, said the congressman’s aides have been working with Blumenthal’s office to draft the legislation. Minto said Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) is also involved in writing the bill. 

“Requiring an individual to provide access to their personal social media account is an invasion of privacy, plain and simple,” Minto said. “Congressman McHenry is considering legislation to prevent this encroachment into Americans’ private lives.”

Perlmutter on Tuesday offered an amendment to a bill that would slow the ability of the Federal Communications Commission to adopt new regulations. Perlmutter’s amendment would have clarified that nothing in the bill would limit the FCC’s power to adopt rules banning employers from asking for passwords to Facebook or other social media sites. 

“No American should have to provide their confidential personal passwords as a condition of employment,” Perlmutter said in a statement.

The House voted down Perlmutter’s amendment at the urging of Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the author of the underlying FCC reform bill. 

Walden worried that the last-minute amendment would give the FCC too much power to regulate online privacy and said he wished that Perlmutter had brought up the issue earlier.

In a blog post last week, Facebook condemned employers who pressure people to hand over their passwords.

“If you are a Facebook user, you should never have to share your password, let anyone access your account, or do anything that might jeopardize the security of your account or violate the privacy of your friends,” said Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer for policy.

 House bill would ban bosses from asking for Facebook passwords – The Hill’s Hillicon Valley.

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Senators Want Employers’ Facebook Password Requests Reviewed – NYTimes.com


Senators Question Employer Requests for Facebook Passwords

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: March 25, 2012

 

Two Democratic senators are asking Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to investigate whether employers asking for Facebook passwords during job interviews are violating federal law, their offices announced Sunday.

Troubled by reports of the practice, Senators Charles E. Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said they were calling on the Justice Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to begin investigations. The senators are sending letters to the heads of the agencies.

The Associated Press reported last week that some private and public agencies around the country were asking job seekers for their social media credentials. The practice has alarmed privacy advocates, but its legality remained murky.

On Friday, Facebook warned employers not to ask job applicants for their passwords, presumably so they could view applicant profiles on the site. The company threatened legal action against applications that violated its longstanding policy against sharing passwords.

A Facebook executive cautioned that if an employer discovered that a job applicant is a member of a protected group, the employer might be vulnerable to claims of discrimination if it did not hire that person.

Personal information such as gender, race, religion and age are often displayed on a Facebook profile — all details that are protected by federal employment law.

Not sharing passwords is a basic tenet of online conduct. Aside from the privacy concerns, Facebook considers the practice a security risk.

“In an age where more and more of our personal information — and our private social interactions — are online, it is vital that all individuals be allowed to determine for themselves what personal information they want to make public and protect personal information from their would-be employers. This is especially important during the job-seeking process, when all the power is on one side of the fence,” Mr. Schumer said in a statement.

Specifically, the senators want to know if the practice violates the Stored Communications Act or the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Those two acts, respectively, prohibit intentional access to electronic information without authorization and intentional access to a computer without authorization to obtain information.

The senators also want to know whether two court cases relating to supervisors asking current employees for social media credentials could be applied to job applicants.

The senators said they were writing a bill to fill in any gaps not covered by current laws.

 Senators Want Employers’ Facebook Password Requests Reviewed – NYTimes.com.

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