Federal researchers who are worried about a new law that would require that their financial information be posted publicly online can breathe easier for the moment. The U.S. Senate on Saturday voted to approve a bill that delays until 8 December this provision of the so-called STOCK Act. The House of Representatives is likely to approve the bill during its recess, which will last until after the 6 November election, The Washington Post  reports.
The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, passed in April to prevent insider trading by members of Congress and their staff, includes a provision that requires public posting of financial disclosures. The rule applies not only to Congress but to about 28,000 senior federal employees who file certain disclosure forms. Right now those forms are available only upon request.
Federal employees have said that the law violates their privacy, could put them at risk for identity theft, and threatens the safety of employees in high-security positions. And researchers at the National Institutes of Health and NASA have warned in a lawsuit  that the requirement will hinder recruitment and could persuade some federal scientists to leave government.
The disclosure requirement was set to kick in at the end of August but has been delayed twice already. Congress postponed it for a month, and 2 weeks ago a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction blocking it until the end of October. The bill just passed by the Senate delays the provision further for all but top-level officials and also calls for the National Academy of Public Administration to review its possible effects within 6 months, the Post reports.