Washington Watch: Legislative Update

… For the Week of 7 March 2011 …
 

I.          Legislative News and Activity  
II.        This Week in Congress
III.       Update on FOP Top Legislative Priorities
IV.      FOP teams up with National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
V.       FOP NEWS: National Legislative Office is now on Facebook!

I.   LEGISLATIVE NEWS AND ACTIVITY
Executive Director Jim Pasco hosted a fundraiser for Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, with National President Chuck Canterbury in attendance.

Executive Director Jim Pasco had numerous interviews with the media regarding the nationwide assault on collective bargaining.

Executive Director Jim Pasco had discussions with officers of several private sector unions seeking their support in the fight to retain collective bargaining.
 
Executive Director Jim Pasco accepted a $45,000 donation from MillerCoors to be used in deferring the expenses of the 2011 Peace Officers� Memorial Service.
 
Legislative Liaison Tim Richardson and Jessica Caswell met with Ashley Fingarson, Legislative Assistant to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX), and Tommy Holstien, Legislative Correspondent to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, to discuss our support for S. 113, the �Public Servant Retirement Protection Act.�
 
Senior Legislative Liaison Tim Richardson and Legislative Liaison Breanna Bock-Nielsen met with senior majority and minority staff from the Senate Committee on Appropriations    Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies to discuss the funding for the hiring program of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and other priorities for local and State law enforcement.

II.  THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS
Both the House and Senate were in Session.
 
Action in the House
The House considered and passed H.R. 830, the �FHA Refinance Program Termination Act,� aimed at terminating a program established to provide assistance to homeowners who owe more than their homes are worth, passed the House 256-171 vote.
 
The House is expected to vote today on H.R. 836, the �Emergency Mortgage Relief Program Termination Act,� that would terminate a program that provides emergency loans to unemployed homeowners facing foreclosure.
 
Action in House Committees
The Committee on Homeland Security held a hearing entitled �The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community�s Response.� The Committee examined and took testimony from experts on the issue of the radicalization of American Muslims.

Action in the Senate
The Senate considered and passed S. 23, the �America Invents Act,� on a 95-5 vote. The bill provides for patent law overhauls, by a vote of 95-5.
 
The Senate considered and rejected H.R. 1, the �Fiscal 2011 Continuing Resolution,� that would fund the government through the end of the fiscal year by a vote of 44-56.
 
Action in Senate Committees
The Senate Committee on the Judiciary held mark-up on S. 193, the �Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Sunset Extension Act.�
 
The Committee considered and adopted the following amendments:

  • A Leahy amendment that would correct the expiration date to read May 27, 2011 was adopted without objection.
  • A Leahy amendment to add booksellers to the library records provision that would set a higher standard for law enforcement to use the business records authority to access records was adopted 11-7 vote.
  • A Grassley (R-IA) amendment that would allow the death penalty for those convicted of certain terror-related crimes was adopted by voice vote.
  • A Durbin (D-IL) amendment that would require greater specificity in the descriptions of unnamed roving wiretap subjects was adopted 11-6 vote.
  • A Whitehouse (D-RI) amendment that would revise the application requirements for non-disclosure of national security letters was adopted by voice vote.

The Committee then voted to report favorably, S. 193, the �USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act,� on a 10-7 vote.
 
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.

(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 Officers 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 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.

V . 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!

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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.

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