Washington Watch: Legislative Update

… For the Week of 7 November 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 Senator Sherrod C. Brown (D-OH) to discuss the activities of the FOP in Ohio working to defeat Issue 2 on election day in that State.  The FOP and its allies won a tremendous victory and the issue was voted down with over 61% of the vote.

Executive Director Pasco met with Ronald Weich, Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs, and spoke with Jocelyn Samuels, Senior Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice, to discuss oversight of the Department.

Senior Legislative Liaison Tim Richardson and Legislative Liaison Breanna Bock-Nielsen, along with representatives from other law enforcement organizations, met with Senator James H. Webb, Jr. (D-VA) and his staff to review the recent vote on the Senator’s amendment to create a national criminal justice commission.

Senior Legislative Liaison Richardson and Legislative Liaison Bock-Nielsen, along with representatives from other law enforcement organizations, met with legislative counsel to Senator Harry M. Reid (D-NV), Minority Leader, to discuss the vote on the Webb amendment, the future of that legislation as well as other issues likely to be considered on the Senate floor affecting law enforcement.

Legislative Liaison Bock-Nielsen participated in a conference call to discuss efforts to secure funding for equipment for the U.S. Park Police.

II.        THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS

Action in the House
The House was not in session this week.

Action in the Senate
The Senate considered and passed H.R. 674, the “3% Withholding Repeal and Job Creation Act,” which would repeal a tax withholding requirement on vendors with Federal contracts, on a 95 – 0 vote.

The Senate began its consideration of a second “minibus” appropriations bill, H.R. 2354, the “Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012,” which will also include funding for financial services, foreign operations, and the U.S. Department of State.  A cloture vote on the motion to proceed to the bill is expected sometime before the Senate goes into recess in observance of Veterans’ Day.

Action in Senate Committees
The Committee on the Judiciary held an oversight hearing of the U.S. Department of Justice at which U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., testified.

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 individual’s 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.  The amendment has been drafted, but not yet formally accepted, and no action has been scheduled on the underlying bill.

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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