Washington Watch: Legislative Update

… For the Week of 28 February 2011 …
 

I.          Legislative News and Activity  
II.        This Week in Congress
III.       Update on FOP Top Legislative Priorities
IV.      FOP NEWS: Memo to Federal DoD Officers from Chairman of the Federal Officers’ Committee
V.       FOP NEWS: RESPONSE OF CHUCK CANTERBURY, NATIONAL PRESIDENT, FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE TO
STATEMENTS MADE BY GLENN BECK ON HIS RADIO PROGRAM ON 3 MARCH 2011
VI.      FOP teams up with National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
V
I I.       FOP NEWS: National Legislative Office is now on Facebook!

I.   LEGISLATIVE NEWS AND ACTIVITY
Executive Director Jim Pasco met with Bruce Cohen, Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, on pending judicial issues and nominations.

Executive Director Pasco met with Jim Sullivan, Executive Assistant to the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, on border issues.

Executive Director Pasco met with Bob Chaney, Special Assistant to the Attorney General, to discuss problems confronting local policing.
 
Legislative Liaison Breanna Bock-Nielsen represented the FOP at a labor organization stakeholder meeting to discuss public pensions.
 

II.  THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS
The House and Senate were in session. They took under consideration H. J. Res. 44, the “Further Continuing Appropriations Amendment, 2011,” which allowed for the funding of the federal government through 18 March. The measure included $4 billion in budget cuts. Congress will continue working towards completion of funding for FY2011 as well as beginning work for FY2012.
 
Action in the House
The House considered and passed H. J. Res. 44, the “Further Continuing Appropriations Amendment, 2011,” on a 335-91 vote.  The bill, which funds the Federal government through 18 March, was transmitted to the Senate for further action.

The House considered and passed H.R. 4, the “Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act,” on a 314-122 vote.  The bill repeals certain reporting requirements of small businesses to the Internal Revenue Service.

Action in the Senate
The Senate considered and passed H. J. Res. 44, the “Further Continuing Appropriations Amendment, 2011,” on a 91-9 vote.  The bill, which funds the Federal government through 18 March, was transmitted to the President, who signed it into law.

The Senate began consideration of S. 23, the “Patent Reform Act of 2011.”

 
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 “Social Security Fairness Act”
This legislation, which would repeal both the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO), has not yet been reintroduced.  Staff from the National Legislative Office are engaged with staff in both the House and the Senate to get these bills introduced quickly.

(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 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.  The National Legislative Office staff has already contacted key Members of Congress regarding this legislation and we are working on an introduction strategy.

C.  Support the “Law Enforcement Officer’s Procedural Bill of Rights Act”
This legislation, which would provide a minimum level of procedural protections for law enforcement officers accused of administrative wrongdoing because of the gravity of potential harm to officers created by this lack of uniform safeguards, has not yet been introduced.  National Legislative Office staff are engaged with staff in both the House and the Senate to get these bills introduced.

D.  Support the H.R. 327, “Law Enforcement Officers’ Equity Act”
This legislation, which would provide would provide 6 (c) benefits to approximately 30,000 Federal law enforcement officers who currently do not have them, was introduced in the House on 19 January 2011.  National Legislative Office staff are engaged with staff in the Senate to get a companion introduced.

IV. FOP NEWS : Memo to Federal DoD Officers from Chairman of the Federal Officers’ Committee

TO:               Federal Law Enforcement Officers Employed by the U.S. Department of Defense

FROM:    Lou Cannon, Chairman, Federal Officers’ Committee

DATE:            4 March 2011

RE:              H.R. 324 and Efforts on Implementing the LEOSA Improvements Act for DoD Officers

During the Day on the Hill event I had an opportunity to speak with National President Chuck Canterbury, Executive Director Jim Pasco, and staff in the National Legislative Office to get an update on the efforts to properly implement the Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act (LEOSA) Improvements Act (S. 1132/PL 111-272) for civilian law enforcement officers employed by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) as well as their efforts in support of H.R. 324.  The purpose of this memorandum is to pass this information along to our members employed by DoD.

Proper Implementation of S. 1132 (now PL 111-272)
In October of last year, National President Canterbury sent a letter to Robert M. Gates, Secretary of Defense, stating that the recently enacted law, the LEOSA Improvements Act, does impact civilian law enforcement officers employed by the Department.  He also requested a meeting to address this and other issues related to statutory arrest authority, and the role of law enforcement within DoD. 

National President Canterbury has not received a response from Secretary Gates.  The National Legislative Office did receive a letter from Sharon H. Cooper, the Director of Human Resources Activity, within DoD, but it was unresponsive on every point.  It is likely that National President Canterbury will write Secretary Gates again in an effort to get a response.

At the request of the National Legislative Office, Judiciary Committee staff working for Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the committee, initiated contact with the DoD to resolve the issue.  His staff ultimately began a dialogue with John F. Awtrey, Director of the Office of Law Enforcement Policy and Support at DoD.  The Judiciary staff explained how the law was crafted to ensure specifically that civilian law enforcement officers employed by the DoD were included in the definition of “qualified active and retired law enforcement officer.”  Director Awtrey reiterated the position of the Department that, without statutory arrest authority, its officers did not meet the definition.  Despite disagreement on this point from a purely legal perspective, Director Awtrey acknowledged that if the words “or apprehension” were to be inserted after the word “arrest” throughout 18 USC 926B and 926C that the Department’s civilian law enforcement officers would certainly meet the LEOSA definitions.

While Chairman Leahy’s staff agrees with the FOP that the current law certainly does include civilian law enforcement officers employed by the Department of Defense, they are willing to recommend that “or apprehension” be added to the statute with an amendment.  Chairman Leahy’s staff and that of the National Legislative Office have already reached out to staff in the offices of Senators Carl M. Levin (D-MI), Chairman of the Committee on Armed Services, and Senator James H. Webb, Jr. (D-VA), a member of the Armed Services Committee and a former Secretary of the Navy.  Senator Jefferson B. Sessions III (R-AL) is a senior member of both the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Armed Services, and he has been briefed on this issue as well.

In the meantime, the Judiciary staff and DoD officials will continue their dialogue on this point and the National FOP will also continue to efforts to establish one.

It has been brought to the attention of the Federal Officers’ Committee, the Federal Officers’ Coalition, and the National Legislative Office that other organizations are also writing letters to the U.S. Attorney General and various officials within components of the DoD.  None of these organizations were at all involved in the enactment of the original LEOSA, nor the most recent passage of S. 1132.  They are unlikely to be of any real help in settling this issue simply because they haven’t the experience with the law or the active support of Capitol Hill.  It is the hope of the National Legislative Office that they don’t make things worse.

Lobbying Efforts on H.R. 324
Prior to the start of the 112th Congress, the National Legislative Office initiated contact with the office of Representative J. Randy Forbes (R-VA).  Representative Forbes is an FOP ally and was the sponsoor of H.R. 3572, the companion bill to S. 1132.  One of the chief differences between the two bills was that H.R. 3752 included “or apprehension” after arrest, so Rep. Forbes was very familiar with this issue.  Further, he is a member of the new majority in the House and sits on both the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Armed Services.

Staff in the National Legislative Office were also in touch with staff in the office of Representative Robert E. Filner (D-CA), a long-time advocate for Federal law enforcement who introduced this bill in the previous Congress.  In those conversation, they had asked Rep. Filner to hold off introducing the bill until we secured the support of Rep. Forbes and suggested, given the new majority and his favorable committee assignments, that Rep. Forbes take the lead on the bill with Rep. Filner taking the role of lead Democratic cosponsor.

It is assumed that there was some miscommunication between Rep. Filner and his staff, as he did introduce the bill without coordinating the introduction with the FOP.  The National Legislative Office released a letter of support for the bill and a press release regarding its introduction, but these occurred as a result of their monitoring the floor, not communication with the office of Rep. Filner.

The National Legislative Office staff met again with Rep. Forbes, who is considering whether to be the lead Republican sponsor on the existing bill (H.R. 324) or introduce a new, but identical, version of the bill.  This latter strategy is likely to give it a greater chance of passage because the bill is sponsored by a member of the majority. 
In the Senate, the National Legislative Office staff is engaged with Senator Webb, a former U.S. Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan Administration.  It is the feeling of the National Legislative Office that having a former Navy Secretary as the lead sponsor of this bill will bring it real credibility.  Senator Webb is also a member of the majority in the Senate and sits on the Committee for Armed Services.  As reported above, Senator Sessions has been sympathetic to the FOP on this issue and he is being considered as the potential lead Republican on the bill.

I want to assure all of our DoD members that the National FOP is actively engaged on this issue.  I have seen some comments (on non-FOP sites and emails) criticizing the fact that H.R. 324 is not a top legislative priority of the National FOP.  It is not, but our members need to understand that the designation “top legislative priority” is given exclusively to pieces of legislation which have been the subject of an adopted resolution at a National Biennial Conference.  There has been one exception to this–the designation of the “Law Enforcement Officers’ Equity Act,” which was designated as such by the National Board of Trustees last spring.  This decision may have to be ratified at the upcoming National Biennial Conference this August.

Nonetheless, please be assured that this is a priority of the National Legislative Office, which is expending considerable time and effort on this bill.  With our help, I am confident that we will ultimately succeed. 

Please feel free to contact me directly or the National Legislative Office if you have questions about either of these issues.  Please have care not to pass on through social networks or email unfounded rumors or statements which disparage the pace of current efforts.  It took twelve years to pass the original LEOSA and five to pass the recent package of amendments.  Government moves slowly and its pace does not reflect the level of commitment or activity the FOP is expending in support of its members.

V. FOP NEWS : RESPONSE OF CHUCK CANTERBURY, NATIONAL PRESIDENT, FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE TO STATEMENTS MADE BY GLENN BECK ON HIS RADIO PROGRAM ON 3 MARCH 2011

We know that Mr. Glenn Beck considers himself to be a friend to law enforcement, but he needs to get the facts before he acts–just as a police officer would.

The National Fraternal Order of Police had no role in organizing and is not participating in any of the demonstrations taking place in Madison, Wisconsin.  That said, we strongly and unconditionally support the right of public employees to bargain collectively.  For rank-and-file law enforcement officers, the ability to sit down with the employers and discuss workplace issues–from officer safety to wages and hours–is critical if the officers are going to be able to complete their mission.  We would not deny any public employee the same rights and thus we  sympathize with those who find their rights threatened–especially public employees who do so much for so many at every level of government.  In any State where the rights of public employees are threatened, we are concerned about the rights of the rank-and-file law enforcement officer.

 The Fraternal Order of Police strongly supports the right of the people to assemble peaceably when they do so in accordance with local, State and Federal law.  Law enforcement officers provide security for thousands of demonstrations every year to ensure the safety of the participants and that of the general public.

We provide this security regardless of whether we agree or disagree with the issues that the demonstrators are presenting.

Mr. Beck’s criticism of Mr. Anthony K. “Van” Jones and the American Dream movement may be justified.  We have absolutely no relationship with Van Jones, and the National FOP is not part of any nationwide movement except our own.  We reject any assertion that Van Jones may make regarding systemic police brutality.  His record of inaccuracy speaks for itself.  The FOP represents law enforcement officers; Mr. Jones represents an agenda.

On his radio show today, Mr. Beck stated that the cops have “acted stupidly,” which is an irresponsible statement to make without all of the facts, whether uttered by a radio personality or the President of the United States.

Any suggestion that the FOP is just a union in a league with a vast labor movement is an inaccurate one.  The FOP is not just an organization representing police, we are the police.  When our leadership speaks out on issues, they are conveying the perspective of the rank-and-file law enforcement officer, not a national labor movement, and we know our interests better than any radio host.
 
VI.  FOP teams up with National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
The National Fraternal Order of Police has joined forces with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) on their safety prevention resource, Take 25 campaign. Each lodge, State and local, should have received a packet about this campaign and how you and your lodge can help. The Take 25 campaign was created in honor of National Missing Children?s Day annually recognized on May 25th. The Take 25 campaign provides free resources and child safety information leading up to the month of May to local communities. Please feel free to contact Jessica Caswell in the NFOP Legislative office at (202) 547-8189 if you did not receive information or have any questions.

VI I . FOP NEWS: 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, D.C.  Please feel free to join in any of our discussions and don’t forget to invite all your FOP brothers and sisters to join!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

National Fraternal Order of Police PAC
Contribution Form

Please return the form and contribution to:
National Fraternal Order of Police PAC
328 Massachusetts Ave., N.E.
Washington, DC 20002
 
Name of Contributor ______________________________________
 
Occupation _____________________________________________________
 
Employer ______________________________________________________
 
Home Address _____________________________________________________________
 
____________________________________________________________________
 
Phone #________________________________________________
 
E-mail Address __________________________________________
 
Contribution Amount (Please circle one):
$25      $50      $100    $150    $200    Other $______
 
Date ______________________________
 
Is contributor a member of the F.O.P.?  Y     N
 
A. If YES, please list:
F.O.P. State Lodge __________________________________
 
F.O.P. Local Lodge __________________________________
 
F.O.P. Membership # ________________________________
 
B. If NO, please list:
F.O.P. Member’s Name ____________________________________
 
Your Relationship to F.O.P. Member _________________________
(son, daughter, spouse, etc.)
 
Contributions or gifts to the National Fraternal Order of Police PAC are not tax deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.  Only PERSONAL or NON CORPORATE checks may be accepted.  A contribution of $25 is suggested, but please contribute more if you are able, and a lesser amount if you are not.  Contributions to the NATL FOP PAC are strictly voluntary and FOP members have the right to refuse to contribute without reprisal.  Your contribution will be used to support candidates for federal office who support law enforcement.  Federal law requires political action committees to report the name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer for each individual whose contributions aggregate in excess of $200 per calendar year.

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

Grand Lodge Website | Legislative Office Homepage

Comments are closed.