Washington Watch: Legislative Update

… For the Week of 30 May 2011 …
I.       Legislative News and Activity
II.      This Week in Congress
III.     Update on FOP Top Legislative Priorities
IV.     NFOP PAC 2011 Official Pocket Knife Campaign Update
V.      National Legislative Office is now on Facebook!

I.          LEGISLATIVE NEWS AND ACTIVITY
National Vice President David Hiller traveled to Washington, DC, to testify before the U.S. Sentencing Commission on the FOP�s opposition to retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (PL 111-220). The FSA lowered the crack to powder cocaine ratio and its retroactive application would result in thousands of drug offenders receiving reduced sentences. Senior Legislative Liaison Tim Richardson and Legislative Liaison Breanna Bock-Nielsen also attended the hearing.

Executive Director Jim Pasco participated in several newspaper interviews regarding police layoffs.
 
Executive Director Pasco also spoke with the Associated Press (AP) about the FOP�s testimony before the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
 
Senior Legislative Liaison Richardson participated in a conference call with John T. Morton, Director, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to discuss their Secure Communities program.
 

II.        THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS
The House was in session this week. The Senate was in recess and will resume on 6 June.

Action in the House
The House considered and passed H.R. 2017, the �Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2012.� The bill provides $42.3 billion in fiscal 2012 for the Homeland Security Department and related activities, including $11.8 billion for customs and border protection; $7.8 billion for the Transportation Security Administration, including fees; $10.1 billion for the Coast Guard; $1.7 billion for the Secret Service and $5.4 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It includes $258 million for the global war on terrorism and $1 billion in emergency spending for disaster relief. The bill also restructures FEMA state and local grant programs to allow for the dispersement of funding based on highest risk. It also bars the use of funds to move detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, into the United States. The bill passed by a vote of 231-188.

The House considered H.R. 802, a bill that would direct the Veterans Affairs secretary to establish a “VetStar Award Program” that would annually recognize businesses for their contributions to veterans’ employment. The bill was passed by a vote of 408-11.

Action in House Committees
The Committee on Homeland Security�s Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence held a hearing entitled �The DHS Intelligence Enterprise- Past, Present, and Future.� Witnesses included Rear Admiral Thomas Atkin, Assistant Commandant for Intelligence and Criminal Investigation, U.S. Coast Guard; Mr. Daniel Johnson, Assistant Administrator for Intelligence, Transportation Security Administration; Mr. James Chaparro, Assistant Director for Intelligence, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement; and Ms. Susan Mitchell, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Office of Intelligence and Operations Coordination, Customs and Border Protection.

 
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 “Social Security Fairness Act”
We currently have seventy-six (76) 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.

In addition, National Legislative Office staff are actively working with staff in the office of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) on S. 113, the “Public Servant Retirement Protection Act.”  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 bill.

The FOP is also working with Representative Kevin P. Brady (R-TX) on a companion bill to S. 113.

(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 H.R. 1789, the “State and Local Law Enforcement Discipline, Accountability and Due Process Act”
We currently have three (3) cosponsors on H.R. 1789.

The Senate companion bill has not yet been introduced.

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 eight (8) 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 currently have a total of seven (7) cosponsors on H.R. 324.

A Senate companion bill has not yet been introduced.

IV.       NFOP PAC 2011 Official Pocket Knife Campaign Update
Pocket knives are selling fast! Get your pocket knife now before they sell out! For information on the knife and how to order, please visit our website at http://www.fop.net/legislative/pac/knife.shtml or contact Jessica Caswell at (202) 547-8189.

 
V.     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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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
 
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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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