Washington Watch: Legislative Update

… For the Week of 31 October 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 Continues
 

I.          LEGISLATIVE NEWS AND ACTIVITY
Executive Director Jim Pasco met with Jocelyn Samuels, Senior Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Executive Director Pasco had discussions with both Ronald Weich, Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs, and Bruce Cohen, Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, about issues with the Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act (LEOSA).

Rick Fulginiti, Chairman of the National Legislative Committee, and PAC Director/Legislative Liaison Grace Lynch attended a fundraising event with Representative Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD), Minority Whip in the U.S. House of Representatives.

PAC Director/Legislative Liaison Lynch met with representatives from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to discuss 2012 activities.

Senior Legislative Liaison Tim Richardson and Legislative Liaison Breanna Bock-Nielsen represented the FOP at a meeting of law enforcement stakeholder groups to discuss end-of-session strategy.

Senior Legislative Liaison Richardson discussed FOP efforts to include language authorizing civilian law enforcement officers employed by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to make arrests and carry firearms under the provisions of the LEOSA with the senior staff of Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary.  See Item IIIE. for additional details.

Legislative Liaison Breanna Bock-Nielsen met with staff in the office of Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT) to discuss issues relating to custodial kidnapping.

II.        THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS

Action in the House
The House appointed its conferees to a House-Senate conference committee which will reconcile the differences between the Senate-passed  H.R. 2112, the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012, which has also includes FY2012 funding for the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Transportation as well as their respectively related agencies, and the House-passed versions of these same appropriations measures. 

The House considered and passed a motion to its conferees “to insists on the highest level of funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) programs.”  The non-binding motion passed on a 265-160 vote.

Action in the Senate
The Senate considered and passed H.R. 2112 on a 69-30 vote.  The measure was then transmitted to the House, which appointed its conferees to the conference committee.  The Senate named their conferees and the conference committee will begin meeting next week.

The Senate considered S. 1769, the “Rebuild American Jobs Act,” which is a component of the larger bill, S. 1549, the “American Jobs Act.”  A motion to proceed to the bill was rejected on a 51-49 vote.

The Senate also considered S. 1786, “Long-Term Surface Transportation Extension Act,” a Republican counterpart to S. 1769.  A motion to proceed to the bill was rejected on a 47-53 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 H.R. 1332, the “Social Security Fairness Act”
We have one hundred and eighteen (118) 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. We are also not including Representative David Wu (D-OR), who resigned his seat earlier this year, or Representative Dean Heller (R-NV), who was appointed to fill the Senate seat vacated by Senator John Ensign (R-NV).

In addition, National Legislative Office staff continue to work with staff in the office of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) on S. 113, the “Public Servant Retirement Protection Act,” and with Representative Kevin P. Brady on the House companion measure, H.R. 2797.  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 individuals entire work history. 

Currently, there are no cosponsors on the Senate bill and seven (7) cosponsors on the House bill.

(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 six (6) cosponsors on H.R. 1789.

The Senate companion bill has not yet been introduced, but we are working with staff in the office of several Senators in an effort to develop a Senate companion bill.

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 ten (10) 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 have eleven (11) cosponsors on H.R. 324

A Senate companion bill has not yet been introduced, but similar language has been included as a provision in S. 1253, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.”  In addition, staff in the National Legislative Office has been working with the office of Senator Leahy to develop an amendment to S. 1253 which would further clarify that LEOSA does apply to law enforcement officers employed by DoD.  There is no timeline for the bill’s consideration at this writing.

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 Continues
Pocket knives are still available! For information on the knife and how to order, please visit our website at http://www.fop.net/legislative/pac/knife.shtml or contact the Grace Lynch at (202) 547-8189.

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

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