Washington Watch: Legislative Update

… For the Week of 24 January 2011 …
 

I.          Legislative News and Activity  
II.       This Week in Congress
III.      Update on FOP Top Legislative Priorities
IV.     FOP Victory on �D Block�: Public Safety�s Need Trumps Corporate Greed
IV.        Help the FOP Foundation!
V.         DAY ON THE HILL 2011!!!
VI.        FOP NEWS: National Legislative Office is now on Facebook!

I.      LEGISLATIVE NEWS AND ACTIVITY
National President Chuck Canterbury participated in a conference call with Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. regarding the Administration’s new position on the D Block spectrum (See Item IV for additional details).  He personally thanked the Vice President for working within the Administration to get this new commitment.

Executive Director Jim Pasco was interviewed on MSNBC regarding recent shootings of law enforcement officers.  He specifically critized the elected leadership in Camden and Newark, New Jersey for police layoffs.

Executive Director Pasco spoke at length with Alan Hoffman, Deputy Chief of Staff to Vice President Biden, regarding the Administraton’s new commitment on D Block.

Executive Director Pasco, pursuant to a request from the Georgia State Lodge, spoke to officials at the U.S. Department of State with respect to their hiring standards for contracted law enforcement personnel.  The FOP will continue to pursue this issue.

Executive Director Pasco discussed this sessions’ strategy on the “Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act” with Kevin O’Connor, Assistant to the General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF).

Senior Legislative Liaison Tim Richardson met with Matt Virkstis, counsel to Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, to discuss issues related to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and their misinterpretation of the recently amended Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act (LEOSA).

Senior Legislative Liaison Richardson met with Caroline Lynch, chief counsel for the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, to discuss FOP’s legislative priorities.

Senior Legislative Liaison Richardson met with Sarah Seitz in the office of Representative J. Randy Forbes (R-VA) to discuss H.R. 324, legislation to provide all civilian law enforcement officers employed by the DoD with statutory arrest authority.

Senior Legislative Liaison Richardson spoke at length with Barry Kasinitz, Legislative Director at the IAFF about this sessions’ strategy on the “Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act.”

Legislative Liaison Breanna Bock-Nielsen spoke with representatives from several labor unions regarding state and local government pensions.
 

II.  THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS

The Senate and House meet in a joint session Tuesday night to hear President Obama�s State of the Union speech.

Action in the House
The House passed a bill to end public financing of presidential campaigns and party conventions, H.R. 359, by a vote of 239-160. The measure now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Action in the Senate
The Senate reconvened after three weeks away and approved changes to its rules for the 112th Congress, including ending �secret holds� on legislation.

The Senate took up a resolution on the Jan. 8 shooting in Arizona.

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 “Social Security Fairness Act”
This legislation, which would repeal both the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO), has not yet been reintroduced.  Staff from the National Legislative Office are engaged with staff in both the House and the Senate to get these bills introduced quickly.

(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 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.  The National Legislative Office staff has already contacted key Members of Congress regarding this legislation and we are working on an introduction strategy.

C.  Support the “Law Enforcement Officer�s Procedural Bill of Rights Act”
This legislation, which would provide a minimum level of procedural protections for law enforcement officers accused of administrative wrongdoing because of the gravity of potential harm to officers created by this lack of uniform safeguards, has not yet been introduced.  National Legislative Office staff are engaged with staff in both the House and the Senate to get these bills introduced.

D.  Support the �Law Enforcement Officers� Equity Act”
This legislation, which would provide would provide 6 (c) benefits to approximately 30,000 Federal law enforcement officers who currently do not have them, was introduced in the House on 19 January 2011.  National Legislative Office staff are engaged with staff in the Senate to get a companion introduced.

IV.  FOP Victory on �D Block�: Public Safety�s Need Trumps Corporate Greed
Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, pledged to work with the Obama Administration to develop and pass legislation to allocate the �D Block� of spectrum directly to public safety.

�It was largely through the good offices of Vice President Joe Biden, a long-time supporter of the FOP and of law enforcement, that the Administration committed to support funding for building  a robust national public safety broadband network from the sale of other, non-D Block portions of the spectrum,� Canterbury said.  �We�re grateful to him and to the President for recognizing the need for these funds.  Without this commitment, there was a genuine concern on the part of public safety that industry interests would exclude rural areas because it would not be profitable for carriers.�       
                                            
Current Federal law and the National Broadband Plan proposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) require that the D Block of spectrum for public safety would be auctioned off to raise money for the construction of a national broadband network on the existing spectrum controlled by the Public Safety Broadband Licensee (PSBL).  With the Administration�s support of legislation introduced by Senator John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV), the D Block will be directly allocated to the PSBL and proceeds from the sale of other portions of the spectrum, which is expected to net between $10-13 billion, will go directly to the construction of the infrastructure needed to make the national broadband network a reality.

�The foremost concern going forward for the FOP and our friends at the IAFF was that rural and smaller agencies would be left without the resources to build out a network on the allotted spectrum or that they would be forced to deal with a single carrier.  With the Vice President�s help, these issues have been fully addressed and I have personally thanked him for his efforts,� Canterbury said.  �Despite the millions of �influence dollars� spent by the industry to craft a bill that was unacceptable to law enforcement it is public safety�s need, not corporate greed, that carried the day.�
 
The FOP will continue to work with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF),  Senator Rockefeller, and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on legislation that would allocate the D Block spectrum to the PSBL and ensure the funds for the network are available to public safety in every part of the country.

�We�re not all the way there yet, but this was a big and important step,� Canterbury said.

V.      Help the Fraternal Order of Police Foundation!

Danner is graciously planning to host a beer hour during the final hour of the first two days at SHOT show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Danner will donate $5 on behalf of each beer hour attendee to the Fraternal Order of Police Foundation. Danner says �The FOP Foundation was mentioned by a few of our Sales Reps around the country as a great organization to give back to and support the men and women in the law enforcement community.� If you or anyone you know will be attending the SHOT Show next week, please stop by and support the Fraternal Order of Police Foundation.

VI.     Your participation in this year’s Day on the Hill event could not be more important.  Following a historic mid-term election, the 112th Congress was sworn in this week, resulting a change of control of the U.S. House of Representatives and a dynamic shift in the political climate on Capitol Hill.  We need to make our voices heard at the start of the Congress, and work hard to ensure that our issues are considered in the next two years.  Please attend if you can–we need your participation!!!

FOP NEWS: Day on the Hill 2011: 14-16 February!!!

The FOP Day on The Hill 2011 will begin on Monday, 14 February 2011.  The National Legislative Office and the National Legislative Committee will host a short briefing on our legislative agenda at the District of Columbia Lodge #1 at 711 4th Street, NW.  The briefing will take place on Monday afternoon at 3pm and last approximately one hour.  Additional details will be forthcoming.

Tuesday and Wednesday, 15-16 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 National Legislative Office has arranged for accommodations at the Hamilton Crowne Plaza (
http://www.hamiltonhoteldc.com/ ) at  14th & K Streets, NW, Washington, DC 20005.  The hotel is located just one block from the Metro, making it easy for you to move around Capitol Hill and the city.

The rate is $181 per night, and you must identify yourself as part of the National Legislative Office to get this special rate.  Make your reservations now by calling 202-682-0111, or through the website above. 

The cut-off date for reservations is 1 February 2011, so don’t delay–make that reservation today!!!

FOP NEWS: 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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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.

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

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