If you want to be in the know about what’s going on at our organization, you’ve come to the right place.
Be sure to check back regularly to get our latest news updates.
WASHINGTON, DC – To allow affected employers additional time to become familiar with a new electronic reporting system launched on August 1, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has extended the date by which employers must electronically report injury and illness data through the Injury Tracking Application (ITA) to December 15, 2017.
OSHA’s final rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses sets December 15, 2017, as the date for compliance (a two-week extension from the December 1, 2017, compliance date in the proposed rule). The rule requires certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness information they are already required to keep under existing OSHA regulations.
Unless an employer is under federal jurisdiction, the following OSHA-approved State Plans have not yet adopted the requirement to submit injury and illness reports electronically: California, Maryland, Minnesota, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Establishments in these states are not currently required to submit their summary data through the ITA. Similarly, state and local government establishments in Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, and New York are not currently required to submit their data through the ITA.
OSHA is currently reviewing the other provisions of its final rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, and intends to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking to reconsider, revise, or remove portions of that rule in 2018.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
In the week ending November 18, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 239,000, a decrease of 13,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 3,000 from 249,000 to 252,000. The 4-week moving average was 239,750, an increase of 1,250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 750 from 237,750 to 238,500.
Each year our school hosts a Veterans Day assembly and breakfast.
|The EU has announced to launch of a public consultation and the setup of a high-level expert group in the battle against fake news and online disinformation.
|Text messages are being sent around claiming recipients are in possession of a Bitcoin. That would be quite a lot of free money...if it were true. Instead you get the Bitcoin Code, a dodgy trading site we recommend staying far away from.
The post Text messages and the Bitcoin Code: follow the money trail appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor announced employee benefit plan compliance guidance and relief for victims of Hurricane Maria and the October 2017 California Wildfires.
The Department understands that plan fiduciaries, employers, labor organizations, service providers, and participants and beneficiaries may encounter issues complying with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) over the next few months as the implications of Hurricane Maria and the California Wildfires unfold.
The guidance provided in this statement generally applies to employee benefit plans, plan sponsors, employers and employees, and service providers to such employers who were located in a county identified for individual assistance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency because of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria or the California Wildfires.
Verification Procedures for Plan Loans and Distributions
IRS Announcement 2017-15 provides relief to victims of Hurricane Maria and the California Wildfires from certain verification procedures that may be required under retirement plans with respect to plan loans to participants and beneficiaries, hardship distributions, and other pension benefit distributions. The Department will not treat any person as having violated the provisions of Title I of ERISA solely because they complied with the verification procedures of IRS Announcement 2017-15.
Participant Contributions and Loan Repayments
Under 29 CFR § 2510.3-102, amounts that a participant or beneficiary pays to an employer, or amounts that a participant has withheld from his or her wages by an employer, for contribution or repayment of a participant loan to an employee pension benefit plan constitute plan assets. These amounts must be forwarded to the plan on the earliest date on which such amounts can reasonably be segregated from the employer’s general assets, but in no event later than the 15th business day of the month following the month in which the amounts were paid to or withheld by the employer.
The Department recognizes that some employers and service providers acting on employers’ behalf, such as payroll processing services, located in identified covered disaster areas will not be able to forward participant payments and withholdings to employee pension benefit plans within the prescribed time frame. In such instances, the Department will not – solely on the basis of a failure attributable to Hurricane Maria – seek to enforce the provisions of Title I with respect to a temporary delay in the forwarding of such payments or contributions to an employee pension benefit plan to the extent that affected employers, and service providers, act reasonably, prudently and in the interest of employees to comply as soon as practical under the circumstances.
In general, Section 101(i) of ERISA and the regulations issued thereunder, at 29 CFR § 2520.101-3, provide that the administrator of an individual account plan is required to provide 30 days advance notice to participants and beneficiaries whose rights under the plan will be temporarily suspended, limited, or restricted by a blackout period (i.e., a period of suspension, limitation or restriction of more than three consecutive business days on a participant’s ability to direct investments, obtain loans or obtain other distributions from the plan). The regulations provide an exception to the advance notice requirement when the inability to provide the notice is due to events beyond the reasonable control of the plan administrator and a fiduciary so determines in writing.
Natural disasters, by definition, are beyond the control of a plan administrator. With respect to blackout periods related to Hurricane Maria, the Department will not allege a violation of the blackout notice requirements solely on the basis that a fiduciary did not make the required written determination.
ERISA Section 518 Extension of Certain Time Frames for Employee Benefit Plans Affected by Hurricane Maria
The Department in conjunction with the IRS announced an extension of a number of deadlines so plan participants, beneficiaries, and employers affected by Hurricane Maria have additional time to make critical health coverage and other decisions affecting benefits. The notice of extension will appear in the Federal Register on November 21, 2017. For group health plans, the relief provides additional time to comply with certain deadlines affecting COBRA continuation coverage, special enrollment, claims for benefits, appeals of denied claims, and external review of certain claims. With regard to disability, retirement and other plans, the relief provides additional time for participants and beneficiaries to make claims for benefits and appeal denied claims. Without the extension, people might miss key events in the aftermath of the storm that could result in the loss or lapse of group health coverage or the denial of a valid claim for benefits.
ERISA Group Health Plan Compliance Guidance
The Department recognizes that plan participants and beneficiaries may encounter an array of problems due to Hurricane Maria and the California Wildfires. The guiding principle for plans must be to act reasonably, prudently, and in the interest of the workers and their families who rely on their health plans for their physical and economic well-being. Plan fiduciaries should make reasonable accommodations to prevent the loss of benefits in such cases and should take steps to minimize the possibility of individuals losing benefits because of a failure to comply with pre-established time frames.
In addition, the Department acknowledges that there may be instances when full and timely compliance by group health plans and issuers may not be possible. Our approach to enforcement will be marked by an emphasis on compliance assistance and include grace periods and other relief where appropriate, including when physical disruption to a plan or service provider’s principal place of business makes compliance with pre-established time frames for certain claims’ decisions or disclosures impossible.
The above relief is in addition to the Form 5500 Annual Return/Report filing relief already provided by the IRS in accordance with the Hurricane Maria and California Wildfires news releases listed on the IRS disaster relief website. See the Treasury regulations under Revenue Code § 7508A and Section 8 of Rev. Proc. 2007-56, 2007-34 I.R.B. 388.
The Department and IRS will continue to monitor the situation to address those issues that are most important in helping individuals, employers and plan sponsors recover from these disasters. For more information on Hurricane Maria and California Wildfires relief under ERISA, see “FAQs for Participants and Beneficiaries Following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and the California Wildfires” and “FAQs for Participants and Beneficiaries Following Hurricane Maria,” visit EBSA’s Disaster Relief pages for employers and advisers and workers and families, or contact the Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration online at www.askebsa.dol.gov or by calling 1-866-444-3272. Questions about IRS guidance should be directed to the IRS at 1-877-829-5900.
ALBUQUERQUE – Jesus Fabian Jimenez, 41, of Hobbs, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to 60 months in prison for violating the federal firearms laws by unlawfully possessing firearms and ammunition. Jimenez will be on supervised release for three years after completing his prison sentence.
FORT WAYNE – United States Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, Thomas L. Kirsch, II, announces that, Eduardo Martinez, age 32 of Fort Wayne, IN was sentenced, before United States District Court Chief Judge Theresa Springmann after pleading guilty to possessing with intent to distribute more than a kilogram of heroin, distributing more than 50 grams of methamphetamine, and possessing a firearm as an illegal alien.
Martinez was sentenced to a total of 324 months of imprisonment and was ordered to serve a total of 5 years of supervised release.
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, the IRS, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) today released advance informational copies of the 2017 Form 5500 annual return/report and related instructions. The “Changes to Note” section of the 2017 instructions highlight important modifications to the Form 5500 and Form 5500-SF and their schedules and instructions. Modifications are as follows:
- IRS-Only Questions. IRS-only questions that filers were not required to complete on the 2016 Form 5500 have been removed from the Form 5500, Form 5500-SF and Schedules, including preparer information, trust information, Schedules H and I, lines 4o, and Schedule R, Part VII, regarding the IRS Compliance questions (Part IX of the 2016 Form 5500-SF).
- Authorized Service Provider Signatures. The instructions for authorized service provider signatures have been updated to reflect the ability for service providers to sign electronic filings on the plan sponsor and Direct Filing Entity (DFE) lines, where applicable, in addition to signing on behalf of plan administrators.
- Administrative Penalties. The instructions have been updated to reflect an increase in the maximum civil penalty amount assessable under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act section 502(c)(2) required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. Department regulations published on Jan. 18, 2017, increased the maximum penalty to $2,097 a day for a plan administrator who fails or refuses to file a complete or accurate Form 5500 report. The increased penalty under section 502(c)(2) is applicable for civil penalties assessed after Jan. 13, 2017, whose associated violation(s) occurred after Nov. 2, 2015 – the date of enactment of the 2015 Inflation Adjustment Act.
- Form 5500/5500-SF-Plan Name Change. Line 4 of the Form 5500 and Form 5500-SF have been changed to provide a field for filers to indicate the name of the plan has changed. The instructions for line 4 have been updated to reflect the change. The instructions for line 1a have also been updated to advise filers that if the plan changed its name from the prior year filing(s), complete line 4 to indicate that the plan was previously identified by a different name.
- Schedule MB. The instructions for line 6c have been updated to add mortality codes for several variants of the RP-2014 mortality table and to add a description of the mortality projection technique and scale to the Schedule MB, line 6 – Statement of Actuarial Assumptions/Methods.
- Form 5500-SF-Line 6c. Line 6c has been modified to add a new question for defined benefit plans that answer “Yes” to the existing question about whether the plan is covered under the PBGC insurance program. The new question asks PBGC-covered plans to enter the confirmation number – generated in the “My Plan Administration Account system” – for the PBGC premium filing for the plan year to which the 5500-SF applies. For example, the confirmation number for the 2017 premium filing is reported on the 2017 Form 5500-SF.
The advance copies of the 2017 Form 5500 are for informational purposes only and cannot be used to file a 2017 Form 5500 annual return/report. Pension and welfare benefit plans that are required to file an annual return/report regarding their financial conditions, investments and operations each year generally satisfy that requirement by filing electronically the Form 5500 or Form 5500-SF and any required attachments under the all electronic EFAST2 system for submission, receipt, and processing of the Form 5500 and Form 5500-SF.
Information copies of the forms, schedules and instructions are available online at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/employers-and-advisers/plan-administration-and-compliance/reporting-and-filing/form-5500.
Filers should monitor the EFAST website for the availability of the official electronic versions for filing using EFAST-approved software or directly through the EFAST website. Assistance with the EFAST2 system is available at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/employers-and-advisers/plan-administration-and-compliance/reporting-and-filing/forms/efast2-form-5500-filing-tips or by calling 1-866-463-3278.
|A new variant of the OSX.Proton malware is being promoted via a fake Symantec blog site.
|Learn what happened in the world of security during the week of November 13 – November 19.
Nationwide, there more than 6 million job openings according to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Far too often, businesses say that there are not enough qualified applicants to fill their openings. Now, thanks to the nation’s main education law, there’s something that business can do to change that. By […]
WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions today announced $98,495,397 in grant funding through the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) COPS Hiring Program (CHP). The Attorney General announced funding awards to 179 law enforcement agencies across the nation, which allows those agencies to hire 802 additional full-time law enforcement officers.
Indianapolis – United States Attorney Josh Minkler today announced federal criminal charges against 26 individuals reaching from Indianapolis to Phoenix, Arizona, one of which is Richard Grundy III.
“Drug dealing fuels violence and the addiction epidemic our community faces each and every day,” said Minkler. “My goal is to make Indianapolis the most inhospitable place in the country to sell illegal drugs. Violent criminals who conduct criminal activity in and around Indianapolis will feel the full force of federal law enforcement.”
CAMBRIA, WI – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $1,837,861 in fines against Didion Milling Inc. following a May 31, 2017, explosion that killed five workers and injured 12 others, including a 21-year-old employee who suffered a double leg amputation after being crushed by a railcar.
OSHA found that the explosion likely resulted from Didion’s failures to correct the leakage and accumulation of highly combustible grain dust throughout the facility and to properly maintain equipment to control ignition sources. OSHA cited Didion’s Cambria facility with 14 willful – including eight willful per-instance egregious– and five serious citations, most involving fire and explosion hazards. The company has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
“Didion Milling could have prevented this tragedy if it had addressed hazards that are well-known in this industry,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Ken Nishiyama Atha, in Chicago. “Instead, their disregard for the law led to an explosion that claimed the lives of workers, and heartbreak for their families and the community.”
The egregious willful citations were issued for violating OSHA’s Grain Handling standard by failing to perform required maintenance on operating equipment and implementing a housekeeping program to control dust accumulations. Willful citations were issued for failure to shut down ignition sources, prevent static electricity discharge, provide adequate personal protective equipment to employees, correct malfunctioning dust collection systems, maintain equipment safety controls, and have an emergency alarm system. Serious citations addressed hazards associated with fires and explosions, and the lack of employee training.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
|The Internet has always been a lawless place, but it becomes particularly rough during the holiday shopping season. Here’s your guide to safe online shopping on Cyber Monday and beyond.
Anchorage, Alaska – Acting U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced today that an Alaska man was found guilty on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The man possessed two rifles and many rounds of ammunition after having been convicted in Alaska State Court of three felonies, including assault in the third degree.
ALBUQUERQUE – Alan William Weber, 37, of Clovis, N.M., entered a guilty plea today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to violating the federal firearms laws by possessing an unregistered sawed-off shotgun.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Rasim Ukoja, 51, of Morton Grove, Ill., was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 43 months in prison for robbery.
DALLAS — Fourteen defendants have been charged in a federal indictment, unsealed yesterday, with felony offenses stemming from their role in a Dallas–based criminal street gang known as “YNB Stretch Gang” and a drug distribution group known as “2600 Money Block,” announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
“These violent, drug-dealing gangs should be on notice,” said U.S. Attorney Parker. “We’re going after them wherever they are.”
Montgomery, Alabama – Christopher Gilcrest (34) of Montgomery, Alabama, was sentenced yesterday to 120 months in federal prison for being a felon in possession of ammunition, announced United States Attorney Louis V. Franklin, Sr. Federal law prohibits a person convicted of a felony from possessing firearms or ammunition.
Montgomery, Alabama- Keyon Montez Butler (24) of Montgomery, Alabama was sentenced yesterday to 120 months in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm, announced United States Attorney Louis V. Franklin, Sr. Federal law prohibits a person convicted of a felony from possessing firearms or ammunition. Butler was found guilty of the charge after a trial that took place in June 2017
|A trusted root certificate is the cornerstone of authentication and security in software and on the Internet. But even this can be abused by criminals. Learn when you shouldn't trust these trusted sources.
The post When you shouldn’t trust a trusted root certificate appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.
In the week ending November 11, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 249,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 239,000. The 4-week moving average was 237,750, an increase of 6,500 from the previous week's unrevised average of 231,250.
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta today toured the Sheet Metal Workers’ Local Union 100’s Apprenticeship Training Center in Suitland, Maryland. The facility is with SMART, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART).
Earlier this week, SMART’s General President Joseph Sellers, Jr., participated in a meeting of the President’s Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion at the Department of Labor. The Task Force – which includes business, labor, educational institutions, trade groups, workforce advocates, and public officials – discussed best practices regarding how to expand apprenticeships across industries.
“Apprenticeships are a pathway for many Americans to learn the skills they need for family-sustaining jobs,” said Secretary Acosta. “I appreciated the opportunity to tour the Sheet Metal Workers’ Apprenticeship Training Center. Seeing apprentices in action and learning more about how the program works provide helpful insight as the Administration works to expand apprenticeships nationwide.”
Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta greets apprentices at Suitland, Maryland,
Kenneth Thomas Minow, 60, of Miles City, Montana, was sentenced by Federal District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl on November 15, 2017, for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Minow was arrested in Miles City, Montana. He received time served, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $500.00 in restitution and a $100.00 special assessment. This case was investigated by the Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.
ALBANY, NEW YORK – Kewon D. Johnson, age 24, of Albany, pled guilty today to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
LAREDO, Texas – Five Laredoans have been ordered to prison following their convictions for their roles in smuggling firearms into Mexico, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.
MADISON, WIS. -- A federal grand jury in the Western District of Wisconsin, sitting in Madison, returned the following indictments. You are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted, the sentencing of a defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
CINCINNATI – A federal grand jury has charged Ronquieze Head, 35, and Seronte Newby, 29, both of Cincinnati, with crimes related to theft from gun stores in Ohio and Kentucky in an indictment returned in Cincinnati.
|New Android Trojan malware has been found in Google Play masquerading as multiple apps. We call this malware Android/Trojan.AsiaHitGroup.
The post New Android Trojan malware discovered in Google Play appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.
BUFFALO, N.Y.- Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Antwone K. Dean, 37, of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford. The charges carry a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $1,000,000 fine.
RALEIGH – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that yesterday in federal court today, Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever III, sentenced JAMES EARL SUTTON, 55, of Kinston, NC to 108 months of imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release.
LOS ANGELES – Federal authorities this morning arrested a South Los Angeles man who allegedly made a series of online threats to kill law enforcement personnel and others at the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Inglewood Courthouse, a nearby school and a private business.
John Patrice Hale, 42, who used the online moniker “Frost K Blizzard,” allegedly made the threats using techniques designed to make his internet communications anonymous, which included using Tor and proxy servers.
A member of the Wildboys gang was sentenced today to 20 years in prison in federal court in Charleston, South Carolina, after being found guilty by a federal jury for his role in the attempted murder of a rival gang member.
|The cloud. What is it? What are the pros and cons, and how can we make it as safe as possible? This post covers the basics.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta issued the following statement today regarding the first meeting of the President’s Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion:
“Today, business, labor, educational institutions, trade groups, workforce advocates, and public officials discussed best practices regarding how to expand apprenticeships across industries. The practical expertise that the Task Force members shared will benefit the Administration’s strategy to grow high-quality apprenticeships.
“We’ve seen strong interest in apprenticeship programs since President Trump signed his Executive Order Expanding Apprenticeships in America. Apprenticeships are designed to meet the needs of America’s dynamic economy. Working together, we will help ensure that job seekers have the skills to fill open positions. I am grateful to the Task Force members, all of whom are leaders in their fields, for participating in today’s productive discussion.”
SAN DIEGO – The San Diego County Sheriff’s Office honored the North County Regional Gang Task Force (NCRGTF) today with the Meritorious Unit Citation for their combined efforts on the sting authorities called “Operation No Worries.”
MADISON, WIS. – Jeffrey M. Anderson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Blair Cook, 23, Madison, Wis., was found guilty today of possessing a firearm as an unlawful user of marijuana. The jury reached its verdict after approximately five hours of deliberation, following one day of testimony in U.S. District Court in Madison.
The jury was unable to reach a verdict on a second charge, which alleged that Cook had made a false statement to a federally licensed firearms dealer.
CONCORD, N.H. - Daniel Rogers, 31, of Manchester, New Hampshire was sentenced in federal court to eight years in prison for firearms and narcotics offenses, Acting United States Attorney John J. Farley announced today.