Grand Lodge News: Washington Watch – Legislative Update

 … For the Week of 24 October 2011 …

I.       Legislative News and Activity
II.     This Week in Congress
III.    Update on FOP Top Legislative Priorities
IV.     Do Your Friends Get Grassroots?
V.      NFOP PAC 2011 Official Pocket Knife Campaign Continues
VI.     National Legislative Office is now on Facebook!
 

I.          LEGISLATIVE NEWS AND ACTIVITY
National President Chuck Canterbury was in Washington, DC, to attend an AmeriPAC event honoring Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD).

Executive Director Jim Pasco traveled to Nashville, TN, to attend the Executive Board meeting.

Executive Director Pasco met with B. Todd Jones, Acting Director at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), to discuss the current political climate surrounding ATF.

Executive Director Pasco met with Michele Leonhart, Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), to discuss state and local cooperation.

Executive Director Pasco met Sean M. Joyce, the incoming Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Executive Director Pasco met with Bart R. Johnson, incoming Executive Director of the International Association of the Chiefs of Police (IACP), on areas of agreement between the FOP and IACP.

Executive Director Pasco met with Sheriff Rich Stanek, President of the Major County Sheriffs’ Association (MCSA), on potential areas of coordination with the FOP.

Executive Director Pasco met with Darrel Stephens, Executive Director of the Major Cities Chiefs’ Association (MCCA), on developing a law enforcement consensus after the defeat of the Webb crime commission bill.

Executive Director Pasco met with Alan Bersin, Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), on border security issues.

Executive Director Pasco met twice with Kevin O’Connor, Assistant to the General President at the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), to discuss collective bargaining and issues relating to public safety officer benefits.

Executive Director Pasco met with Richard P. Michalski, General Vice President for the International Associations of Machinists, to discuss collective bargaining coordination.

Executive Director Pasco met with Ronald Weich, Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs, on upcoming Department of Justice oversight hearings.

II.        THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS
The House was in session this week. The Senate was in recess but is expected to resume on 31 October.

Action in the House
The House considered and passed H.R. 674, which would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the imposition of a 3 percent withholding on certain payments made to vendors by government entities. The measure passed by a vote of 405-16.
The House considered and passed H.R. 2576, which would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the calculation of modified adjusted gross income for purposes of determining eligibility for certain healthcare-related programs, by a vote of 262-157.

Action in House Committees
The Committee on the Judiciary marked up H.R. 822, the “National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011.” The bill would amend the federal criminal code to authorize a person who is carrying a government-issued photographic identification document and a valid permit to carry a concealed firearm in one state, and who is not prohibited from possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm under federal law, to carry a concealed handgun (other than a machinegun or destructive device) in another state in accordance with the restrictions of that state. The bill was reported favorably out of committee by a vote of 19-11.

 
III.       UPDATE ON FOP TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES
For the complete list of cosponsors for all of our top legislative priorities, or to find out if your Representative and Senators are cosponsors of specific bills, check out http://thomas.loc.gov.
 
A.  Social Security Issues

(1) Support the H.R. 1332, the “Social Security Fairness Act”
We have one hundred and eighteen (118) cosponsors on H.R. 1332.  Please note that this total differs slightly from THOMAS, as we are not including Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), who has limited voting rights on the floor. We are also not including Representative David Wu (D-OR), who resigned his seat earlier this year, or Representative Dean Heller (R-NV), who was appointed to fill the Senate seat vacated by Senator John Ensign (R-NV).

In addition, National Legislative Office staff continue to work with staff in the office of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) on S. 113, the “Public Servant Retirement Protection Act,” and with Representative Kevin P. Brady on the House companion measure, H.R. 2797.  This legislation would not impact the Government Pension Offset (GPO) but would repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision and replace it with a more equitable, individualized calculation of Social Security benefits based on an individual’s entire work history. 

Currently, there are no cosponsors on the Senate bill and seven (7) cosponsors on the House bill.

(2)  Opposing any legislation that would require the participation of public employees in Social Security
The FOP will continue to lobby against this scheme and oppose any legislation which would mandate participation in Social Security.

B.  Support the “Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act”
This legislation, which would guarantee the right of public safety employees to bargain collectively with their employers over hours, wages and conditions of employment, has not yet been introduced. 

C.  Support H.R. 1789, the “State and Local Law Enforcement Discipline, Accountability and Due Process Act”
We currently have six (6) cosponsors on H.R. 1789.

The Senate companion bill has not yet been introduced, but we are working with staff in the office of several Senators in an effort to develop a Senate companion bill.

D. Support the H.R. 327, the “Law Enforcement Officers’ Equity Act” and S. 985, the “Law Enforcement Officers’ Retirement Equity Act”
We currently have a total of ten (10) cosponsors on H.R. 327.

We currently have no cosponsors on S. 985.

E.  Support the H.R. 324, legislation giving Federal law enforcement officers employed by the U.S. Department of Defense statutory arrest authority
We have eleven (11) cosponsors on H.R. 324

A Senate companion bill has not yet been introduced, but similar language has been included as a provision in S. 1253, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.”

IV.     Do Your Friends Get Grassroots?
Make sure your friends and coworkers know about our weekly updates! The grassroots emails are the most accurate source of information about the FOP on the Hill­ covering information on meetings, bills, and events.
 
To add your name from our mailing list, please send an email to grassroots@fop.net with ADD and the State in which you live, in the Subject Line.

V.      NFOP PAC 2011 Official Pocket Knife Campaign Continues
Pocket knives are still available! For information on the knife and how to order, please visit our website at http://www.fop.net/legislative/pac/knife.shtml or contact the Grace Lynch at (202) 547-8189.
 
 
VI.      National Legislative Office is now on Facebook!
Because our grassroots are so important to our efforts on Capitol Hill, we have created a National Legislative Office Facebook page to keep our members informed.

Take a moment now to join our Facebook page to stay current with the latest information from Washington, DC.  Please feel free to join in any of our discussions and don’t forget to invite all your FOP brothers and sisters to join!

Questions or Comments?  E-mail us at grassroots@fop.net or call (202) 547 – 8189.

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