March 30, 2011 in Nation/World

In brief: Judge puts hold on bargaining law

From Wire Reports

Madison, Wis. – The showdown over Wisconsin’s explosive union bargaining law shifted from the Statehouse back to the courthouse on Tuesday, but it remained unclear when or even whether the measure would take effect.

Republican lawmakers pushed through passage of the law earlier this month despite massive protests and a boycott by Democratic state senators. Opponents immediately filed a series of lawsuits that resulted in further chaos that might not end until the state Supreme Court weighs in.

That appeared even more likely after a hearing on Tuesday, when a Dane County judge again ordered the state to put the law on hold while she considers a broader challenge to its legality. She chastised state officials for ignoring her earlier order to halt the law’s publication.

“Apparently that language was either misunderstood or ignored, but what I said was the further implementation of (the law) was enjoined,” Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi said during a hearing.

Sumi is set to hear additional arguments Friday.

Lost laptop held claimants’ data

New Orleans – A BP employee lost a laptop containing personal data belonging to thousands of residents who filed claims for compensation after the Gulf oil spill, a company spokesman said Tuesday.

BP spokesman Curtis Thomas said the oil giant on Monday mailed out letters to roughly 13,000 people whose data was stored on the computer, notifying them about the potential data security breach and offering to pay for their credit to be monitored.

The laptop was password-protected, but the information was not encrypted, Thomas said.

The data included a spreadsheet of claimants’ names, Social Security numbers, phone numbers and addresses. But Thomas said the company doesn’t have any evidence that claimants’ personal information has been misused.

Thomas said no one will have to resubmit a claim because of the lost data.

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