News from Congress: On December 19, 2012, the House approved amendments to the Hatch Act which were previously passed by the Senate. The Hatch Act Modernization Act of 2012, S.2170, makes several changes to the Hatch Act which affect its disciplinary provisions and the scope of employees covered by the Hatch Act. According to Senate Report 112-211, these amendments were supported by Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner. S.2170 now goes to President Obama for his signature.
News from Congress: Congress has increased protections for federal employee whistleblowers. On November 13, 2012, the Senate passed S. 743, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 ("WPEA") by unanimous consent. The Senate action accepted revisions to WPEA to match the version of the bill passed in the House of Representatives in September 2012. The bill has now been forwarded to President Obama for his signature.
News from Congress: In a subsection to a larger statute earlier this year, Congress retroactively restored the rights of Federal Aviation Administration ("FAA") employees who win appeals at the Merit Systems Protection Board ("MSPB") to receive back pay awards. Prior to enactment of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Pub.L. 112-95, FAA employees who won appeals at the MSPB, unlike many other federal employees, were not entitled to receive applicable back pay, due to the effects of certain statutes associated with FAA's current separate personnel system. Section 611 of FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 ends this restriction, and grants the MSPB the authority to award back pay to FAA appellants who win at the MSPB in the same manner as other successful civil service appellants. Most strikingly, Congress expressly made the restoration retroactive to April 1, 1996, meaning that successful FAA appellants who were previously denied back pay in earlier MSPB appeals may now be able to seek back pay relief from the MSPB.
News from Congress: On November 30, 2012, the Senate passed S. 2170, the Hatch Act Modernization Act of 2012. The bill now goes to the House.