Smorgasbord of US bills signed
President Reagan has signed into law five bills passed in the final days of the 100th Congress. The legislation calls for stiffer penalties against insider trading and contractors who cheat the government.
It also concerns benefits to veterans who are alcoholics; the protection of federal workers from liability lawsuits because of actions taken on the job; and approval of an unusual land deal involving Florida and Arizona.
The insider trading law doubles maximum criminal penalties from five years in jail to 10. Company fines are raised from $500,000 to $2.5 million, individual fines from $100,000 to $1 million. Businesses will be held liable for the actions of workers if the company ``knowingly or recklessly'' fails to prevent insider trading.
The contractor measure makes major government procurement fraud a federal crime and imposes tough penalties on contractors who have cheated the government. It also gives prosecutors greater authority in dealing with fraud involving Pentagon contracting.
The veterans law overrides a Supreme Court decision that had allowed the Veterans Administration to deny benefits to veterans who were alcoholics. The VA had considered alcoholism a product of ``willful misconduct.''
The worker-liability law restores immunity to federal employees so they cannot be sued for personal liability because of actions taken on the job.
The land-swap law clears the way for completion of a complex deal between a Florida man and the federal government in which some Florida swampland will be traded for a piece of government property in downtown Phoenix.