Washington Watch: Grand Lodge Legislative Update

… For the Week of 20 September 2010 …
I. Legislative News and Activity
II. This Week in Congress
III. Update on FOP Top Legislative Priorities
IV. Update on LEOSA
I. LEGISLATIVE NEWS AND ACTIVITY
Executive Director Jim Pasco attended a reception host by Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. at the Vice President’s residence to commemorate the anniversary of the enactment of the Violence Against Women Act.
Executive Director Pasco met with Senator Amy J. Klobuchar (D-MN) and thanked her for attending the recent meeting of the FOP’s Board of Trustees and to discuss issues of importance to the FOP.
Executive Director Pasco and Senior Legislative Liaison Tim Richardson represented the Fraternal Order of Police at a technology demonstration and discussion forum hosted by Thomas J. Ridge, former Pennsylvania Governor and the nation’s first Secretary of Homeland Security.
Executive Director Pasco, Senior Legislative Liaison Richardson, and Legislative Liaison Irene Egan met with Deputy Chief Chuck Dowd of the New York City Police Department, Assistant Chief Chris Moore of the San Jose, CA Police Department and Assistant Sheriff Ray Flynn of the Las Vegas Police Department to discuss S. 3756, the “Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act.”
Executive Director Pasco met with Peter Davidson, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at Verizon and J. Michael Hickey, Vice President of Government Affairs for National Security Policy at Verizon to discuss public safety communications issues as they relate to spectrm capacity.
Executive Director Pasco met with members of the National Medal of Honor Review Board about issues under consideration.
Executive Director Pasco spoke with representatives with the NFL Players’ Association regarding issues of mutual concerns.
II. THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS
Both the House and the Senate were in session this week.
Action in the House
The House considered and passed H.R. 2923, the “Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act,” by voice vote under a suspension of the rules. This legislation, which the FOP supports, will strengthen Federal law by improving the self-certification process for retail sales of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.
The House considered and passed H.R. 5297, the “Small Business Lending Fund Act,” on a 237-187 vote. The bill would establish the Small Business Lending Fund Program to make capital investments in eligible institutions in order to increase the availability of credit for small businesses. The bill, which passed the Senate last week, will now go to the President for his signature.
The House considered and passed Hr. 5710, the “National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Reauthorization Act,” on a 384-32. The bill would amend and reauthorize the controlled substance monitoring program
Action in the Senate
The Senate spent the week considering S. 3454, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011.”
The Senate also considered S. 3628, the “Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act,” but a motion to proceed to the bill was a filibuster and several cloture votes taken on the bill failed.
Action in Senate Committees
The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing on S. 3756, the “Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act.” This is a comprehensive piece of legislation which would award the “D Block” spectrum to the Public Safety Broadband License to the Public Safety Spectrum Trust and seek other mechanisms to fund the build out of a public safety mobile broadband network. The FOP has taken no position on the bill.
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 H.R. 235/S. 484, the “Social Security Fairness Act”
We added one (1) cosponsor to H.R. 235, bringing our current total to three hundred and twenty-three (323) cosponsors–more than a House majority! Please note that this total differs slightly from THOMAS, as we are not including six (6) Representatives who are no longer serving in Congress, nor the four (4) Delegates, who have limited voting rights on the floor.
We currently have thirty (30) cosponsors on S. 484. Please note that this total differs slightly from THOMAS, as we are not including in our count Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), who died last year. Senator Kennedy’s successor, Senator Scott P. Brown (R-MA), is not currently a cosponsor of the 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 H.R. 413/S. 1611/S. 3194, the “Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act”
We currently have two hundred and twenty-one (221) cosponsors on H.R. 413–more than a House majority! Please note that this total differs slightly from THOMAS, as we are not including in our count three (3) Representatives no longer serving in Congress, nor the three (3) Delegates, who have limited voting rights on the floor.
We currently have twenty-five (25) cosponsors on S. 1611. Please note that this total differs slightly from THOMAS, as we are not including in our count Senators Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), who died last year, or Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL), who resigned his seat last year. Senator Scott P. Brown (R-MA), who succeeded Senator Kennedy is now a cosponsor, but Senator George LeMieux (R-FL), who succeeded Senator Martinez, is not.
In addition to S. 1611, Senator Reid introduced S. 3194, which is identical to S. 1611. This was done purely as a procedural matter and that bill has no cosponsors.
C. Support H.R. 1972, the “Law Enforcement Officer’s Procedural Bill of Rights Act”
We have ten (10) cosponsors on H.R. 1972.
The Senate companion bill has not yet been introduced.
D. Support H.R. 673, the “Law Enforcement Officers’ Equity Act”
We thirty-five (35) cosponsors on H.R. 673. Please note that this total differs slightly from THOMAS, as we are not including in our count two (2) Representative no longer serving in Congress.
The Senate companion bill has not yet been introduced.
IV. UPDATE ON LEGISLATION AMENDING LEOSA
In May, the Senate passed S. 1132 by unanimous consent. This legislation has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary for further consideration. During the August recess, staff in the National Legislative Office held three meetings with the Judiciary Committee staff and two with House leadership staff about scheduling a vote on the bill.
This week, Representative Robert C. Scott (D-VA), the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, indicated that he would NOT move the bill and hold no hearings on mark-ups on the legislation. Our Virginia FOP members are reaching out directly to Chairman Scott and may be meeting with him next week in an effort to get him to discharge the bill so it can be considered directly on the floor by the full House.
Our Maryland FOP members are focusing on communicating with Representative Steny H. Hoyer 9D-MD) in an effort to get him to seek the bill’s discharge so that it can be considered directly on the floor of the House.
Staff in the National Legislative Office is heavily involved in both of these efforts and are working every angle in an effort to see that this bil is brought to the floor for a vote before the end of the Congress.
Members in all other States are encouraged to contact their Representative through the U.S. Capitol switchboard, 202-224-3121, and ask their Representative to do whatever he can to get S. 1132 to the floor for a vote.
As always, contact the National Legislative Office if you need any additional details on this measure.
We currently added one (1) cosponsor to H.R. 3752, bringing our current total to seventeen (17). Please note we are not including in our count two (2) Representatives who are no longer serving in Congress. The bill is similar in most respects to the Senate companion bill, S. 1132. The House bill includes language that would also clarify the status of retired military personnel that served as law enforcement officers in their respective branch of service.
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