Washington Watch: Legislative Update

… For the Week of 20 June 2011 …

I.       Legislative News and Activity
II.      This Week in Congress
III.     Update on FOP Top Legislative Priorities
IV.     Special Vacation Deal for Active and Retired Law Enforcement Officers!
V      NFOP PAC 2011 Official Pocket Knife Campaign Update
VI.     National Legislative Office is now on Facebook!

I.          LEGISLATIVE NEWS AND ACTIVITY
Legislative Liaison Breanna Bock-Nielsen represented the FOP at a meeting of labor stakeholder organizations to discuss pension issues.

NFOP PAC Director Jessica Caswell represented the FOP at a fundraiser for Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

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. 1249, the “America Invents Act,” on a 304-117 vote.  The bill makes changes to existing patent law.

The House considered and passed H.R. 2021, the “Jobs and Energy Permitting Act,” on a 253-166 vote.  The bill would require the Environmental Protection Agency to issue decisions on drilling permits in Alaska within six months.

Action in House Committees
The Committee on the Judiciary considered, amended, and favorably reported H.R. 1741, the “Secure Visas Act,” on a 17-11 vote.  The bill would authorize the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to refuse or revoke visas held by individuals considered to be a security risk to the United States.

The Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution held a hearing on H.R. 963, the “See Something, Say Something Act.”  The bill, which the FOP supports, would expand the current immunity from liability to cover all persons who report suspicious activity to authorities, not just suspicious activity which occurs on Federal property or transportation systems.

Action in the Senate
The Senate began consideration of S. 679, the “Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act,” which would eliminate the need for Senate confirmation for hundreds of Federal appointees.  A final vote on this measure is expected to be held next week.

The Senate considered and unanimously confirmed Leon E. Panetta to be the next Secretary for the U.S. Department of Defense.  He will succeed Secretary Gates, who is retiring.

Action in Senate Committees
The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a hearing entitled: See Something, Say Something, Do Something: Next Steps for Securing Rail and Transit.  One of the pieces of legislation discussed was S. 505, the “See Something, Say Something Act.”  The bill, which the FOP supports, would expand the current immunity from liability to cover all persons who report suspicious activity to authorities, not just suspicious activity which occurs on Federal property or transportation systems.

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 eighty-one (81) 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. We can expect this legislation to be introduced soon.

(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 four (4) 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 nine (9) 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 eight (8) cosponsors on H.R. 324.

A Senate companion bill has not yet been introduced.

IV.       Special Vacation Deal for FOP Members!
The Hawks Cay Resort, located in the Florida Keys, announced a special promotional program called Heroes Welcome.  From 15 August through 31 October, the Resort will be offering a special Heroes rate for  all active and retired military personnel, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, and law enforcement officers.  This special rate is $99 per night on weekdays and $119 on weekends.

In addition, other guests can qualify for a 20% discount if they make a as little as a $1 donation to the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.

Each Saturday night, a Heroes Tribute will be held outside at the Resort’s Fire Pit and special discounts for activities at the resort are available to all guest who qualify for the Heroes rate.

The Resort will officially kick off this event with a live performance by country singer Daniel Lee Martin on Saturday, 20 August. 

For additional information, visit the Hawks Cay Resort’s website: www.hawkscayheroes.com

V.       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.
 
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, 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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(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.

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