Washington Watch: Legislative Update

…For the Week of 12 December 2011 …

I.      Legislative News and Activity
II.     This Week in Congress
III.    Update on FOP Top Legislative Priorities
IV.     CONGRESS PASSES DoD BILL WITHOUT ARREST AUTHORITY
V.      
FOP NEWS: DAY ON THE HILL 2012!!!

VI.     Do Your Friends Get Grassroots?
VII.    NFOP PAC 2011 Official Pocket Knife Campaign Continues
 

I.          LEGISLATIVE NEWS AND ACTIVITY
National President Chuck Canterbury was in Washington D.C. this week to attend a holiday reception at the U.S. Department of Labor.

Executive Director Jim Pasco attended a briefing and group discussion on collective bargaining at the White House with Administration officials.

Invitations to both of these events were also extended to the national presidents of the public sector unions as well as the union members in both Ohio and Wisconsin in appreciation for their active involvement in the initiatives to preserve collective bargaining in those two States.  Jay McDonald, President of the Ohio State Lodge; Kathy Harrell, President of the Queen City Lodge #69; Jim Gilbert, President of Capital City Lodge #9; and Gary Wolske, President of George Murray Lodge #67, attended both the White House and DoL events.

Executive Director Pasco met with Louis F. Quijas, Assistant Secretary for Office for State & Local Law Enforcement at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to discuss law enforcement coordination with the Department.

Executive Director Pasco represented the FOP at a farewell party hosted by Representative John A. Boehner, Speaker fo the House, for depart House Sergeant-at-Arms and Life Member of the FOP, Wilson Livingood.

Senior Legislative Liaison Tim Richardson represented the FOP in a meeting with White House staff regarding legislation that would create a National Commission on Criminal Justice.

II.        THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS
Both chambers were in session this week.  Congress is expected to complete most of its work on Friday and end their work for the year during the weekend or early next week. Both chambers will reconvene and open the Second Session in January.  Once Congress has adjourned for the year, the Legislative Update will be provided as circumstances warrant, rather than each week.

On behalf of the entire staff of the National Legislative Office, Happy Holidays!

Action in the House
The House considered and passed H.R. 886, the “United States Marshals Service 225th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act,” on a 412-1 vote.  The bill directs the U.S. Mint to print one dollar coins to commemorate the 225th anniversary of the creation of the first Federal law enforcement agency, the U.S. Marshals.  The bill now goes to the Senate for further consideration.

The House considered and adopted the conference report for H.R. 1540/S. 1867, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012,” on a 283-136 vote.  The conference report did not contain the FOP’s language on statutory arrest authority for civilian law enforcement officers employed by the U.S. Department of Defense.  (See Items III.E. and IV. for additional information).  The report was then forwarded it to the Senate for final action.

The House considered and passed H.R. 2105, the “Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Reform and Modernization Act,” on a 418-2 vote.  The bill would implement and enforce sanctions against Iran, North Korea, and Syria for their proliferation activities and policies.  The bill now goes to the Senate for further action.

The House considered and passed H.R. 2055, the “Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act,” which includes all remaining FY2012 appropriations bills on a 297-121 vote.

The House considered and passed H.R. 3630, the “Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act,” on a 234-193 vote.  The measure is focus on job creation and will extend the existing cut on payroll taxes.  The bill will now go to the Senate for further consideration.

Action in House Committees
The Committee on the Judiciary held a two-day mark-up as it considers numerous amendments and debate on H.R. 3261, the “Stop Online Piracy Act.”  The Committee may vote on a final amended version of the bill today.  The FOP supported this legislation as introduced.

Action in the Senate
The Senate  considered and adopted the conference report for H.R. 1540/S. 1867, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012,” on a 86-13 vote.  The conference report did not contain the FOP’s language on statutory arrest authority for civilian law enforcement officers employed by the U.S. Department of Defense.  (See Items III.E. and IV. for additional information).  The report now goes to the President to be signed into law.  

The Senate is expected to consider H.R. 2055, the “Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act,” which includes all remaining FY2012 appropriations bills before bringing the First Session to a close.

The Senate considered and rejected S. J. Res. 10 and S. J. Res. 24, on a 47-53 and a 21-79 vote respectively.  Both resolutions were amendments to the U.S. Constitution that would have required Congress to adopt balanced budgets every fiscal year.

Action in Senate Committees
The Committee on the Judiciary considered and passed S. 1236, the “Border Tunnel Prevention Act,” by voice vote.  The bill aims to combat illegal tunnel activity along the Southwest U.S. border by giving law enforcement additional tools to locate tunnels, identify criminals and punish lawbreakers.

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 added thirteen (13) additional cosponsors to H.R. 1332, bringing our current total to one hundred and thrity-one (131) cosponsors.  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 is one (1) cosponsor 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 a total of one (1) cosponsor 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.

Similar language was included in H.R. 1540/S. 1867, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012,” and it passed the Senate on a 93-7 vote last week.   Both the House and Senate versions of the legislation were reviewed by a joint House-Senate conference committee, which, in the interest of expediting its consideration, agreed to delete any provisions which were included in only one of the two bills.  The language we supported was incorporated only into the Senate bill and thus was dropped from the final conference report.

IV.     CONGRESS PASSES DoD BILL WITHOUT ARREST AUTHORITY       
Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, was disappointed that one of the organization’s top legislative priorities was not in the conference report on H.R. 1540, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.”

“Our provision was a victim of haste and process,” Canterbury explained. “In each case where there was a provision in one version of the bill, but no corresponding provision in the other, that provision was simply removed so that the conferees could expedite the conclusion of the report. Our language appeared only in the Senate bill, and so it was removed without any real consideration by the conferees.”

Statutory arrest authority for civilian law enforcement officers employed by DoD was identified as a top legislative priority of the FOP by the National Board of Trustees during the Spring 2011 meeting. This decision was later affirmed by the delegates at the FOP’s Biennial Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah in August. A House bill, H.R. 324, has also been introduced.

“Civilian law enforcement officers employed by the DoD are in need of clarification with respect to the terms ‘arrest’ and ‘apprehension’,” Canterbury explained. “We helped craft language that would give the Secretary of Defense the authority to grant arrest powers to its civilian law enforcement officers and codify those powers in the statute just like the six DoD agencies whose officers already have this authority.”

“It’s an issue we’ve been working on for several years,” Canterbury said. “We may not have made it over the goal line this time, but I am hopeful that we can get this change made in the Second Session.”

V.      FOP DAY ON THE HILL 2012!!!
The FOP Day on The Hill 2012 will begin on Monday, 27 February 2012. The National Legislative Office and the National Legislative Committee will host a short briefing that day at the District of Columbia Lodge #1 at 711 4th Street, NW at a time to be announced.

Tuesday and Wednesday, 28-29 February, will be devoted to your meetings with Members from your home States and districts. These appointments should be made in advance!!! Event participants should make every effort to have their Representative or Senator attend the meeting along with the appropriate staff person.

Accommodations for Day on the Hill Participants
The Grand Lodge is finalizing a contract with a local hotel and will make this information available as soon as the contract agreed to and signed.

VI.     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.

 
VII.      NFOP PAC 2011 Official Pocket Knife Campaign Continues
Pocket knives are still available and make great stocking stuffers! 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.

Grand Lodge Website | Legislative

 

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