Washington Watch: Legislative Update

… For the Week of 27 June 2011 …

I.       Legislative News and Activity
II.      This Week in Congress
III.     Update on FOP Top Legislative Priorities
IV.      Do Your Friends Get Grassroots?
V.      NFOP PAC 2011 Official Pocket Knife Campaign Update
VI.     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, to discuss immigration issues.

Executive Director Pasco spoke with Jim Sullivan, Chief of Staff to the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), to discuss immigration issues.

Executive Director Pasco met with Chuck Marino, Law Enforcement Advisor to the Secretary of Homeland Security, to discuss immigration issues.

Executive Director Pasco and Senior Legislative Liaison Tim Richardson met with researchers with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to get the FOP’s views on the Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) grant program, the Body Armor Safety Initiative of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and other issues related to soft body armor.

Senior Legislative Liaison Richardson met with staff in the office of Senator Amy J. Klobuchar (D-MN) to discuss the introduction of a Senate companion bill to H.R. 1789, the “State and Local Law Enforcement Discipline, Accountability and Due Process Act.”

Senior Legislative Liaison Richardson met with staff in the office of Representative Erik Paulsen (R-MN) to discuss how to build further support for H.R. 1789.

Legislative Liaison Breanna Bock-Nielsen represented the FOP at an informational meeting held by the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) entitled, “The Secure Choice Pension Plan (SCP): A Path Towards Regaining Private Sector Pensions.”

Legislative Liaison Bock-Nielsen represented the FOP at a meeting with the Office of the Vice President to discuss the Uniform Crime Report.

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

Action in the Senate
The Senate unanimously confirmed Army Gen. David Petraeus to be the next director of the CIA in a 94-0 vote. Prior to the vote, senators from both parties lauded the four-star general who is currently serving as the top commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan.

The Senate cleared, by unanimous consent, a three-week extension of Federal aviation programs. The most recent extension for the Federal Aviation Administration expires on June 30. The bill (H.R. 2279) would extend through July 22 certain taxes that fund the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which pays for the bulk of federal aviation programs, as well as the authority to spend money from the fund. It also would provide about $2.8 billion in contract authority for the Airport Improvement Program from Oct. 1, 2010 through July 22.

Action in Senate Committees
The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security held a hearing on the immigration bill known as the DREAM Act (S. 952), with Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

The Senate Intelligence Committee endorsed the nomination of Army Gen. David H. Petraeus to be the next CIA director. In a joint statement, panel Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), announced that the committee had voted unanimously to approve the nomination.

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 (82) 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, but staff in the National Legislative Office has met with staff in the office of Representative Erik Paulsen (R-MN) to discuss how to build further support for H.R. 1789.

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.      Do Your Friends Get Grassroots?
Make sure your friends and coworkers know about our weekly updates! The grassroots emails are the most accurate source of information about the FOP on the Hill­ covering information on meetings, bills, and events.
 
To add your name from our mailing list, please send an email to grassroots@fop.net with ADD and the State in which you live, in the Subject Line.

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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