Washington Watch: Legislative Update

… For the Week of 28 November 2011 …

I.      Legislative News and Activity
II.     This Week in Congress
III.    Update on FOP Top Legislative Priorities
TOP FOP PRIORITY EMBEDDED IN DoD BILL:Statutory Arrest Authority Passed by Senate
VI.     Do Your Friends Get Grassroots?
VII.    NFOP PAC 2011 Official Pocket Knife Campaign Continues

Executive Director Jim Pasco met with with Kevin O’Connor, Assistant to the General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) to discuss issues related to the Public Safety Officers’ Benefit (PSOB) program.

Senior Legislative Liaison Tim Richardson represented the FOP on a conference call with other law enforcement organizations to discuss legislation amending the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA).

Senior Legislative Liaison Richardson and Legislative Liaison Breanna Bock-Nielsen met with other law enforcement organizations and Senator Charles E. Grassley’s Judiciary Committee staff to discuss issues related to Federal law enforcement grants.


Both chambers were in session this week.

Action in the House
The House considered and passed H.R. 3094, the “Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act,” which reverses a recent ruling by the National Labor Relations Board and would require a waiting period between the time employees file a petition to unionize and the actual vote to form a union.

Action in House Committees
The Committee on Energy and Commerce favorably reported a draft bill on a 17-6 vote.  The bill, which the FOP is reviewing, would allocate the 700 MHz D Block to public safety and provide $6.5 billion in funding for the deployment of a nationwide Long Term Evolution (LTE) network for public safety agencies.

The Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement held a hearing on the Secure Communities program administered by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Action in the Senate
The Senate considered and passed S. 1867, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012,” on a 93-7 vote.  The bill includes one of the FOP’s top legislative priorities–language that would give the Secretary of Defense the power to grant statutroy arrest authority to civilian law enforcement officers employed by the U.S. Department of Defense.  (For additional information, see Items III.E. and IV.)

Action in Senate Committees
The Committee on the Judiciary favorably reported S. 671, the “Finding Fugitive Sex Offenders Act,” and S. 1792, the “Strengthening Investigations of Sex Offenders and Missing Children Act,” by voice vote.  The bills give greater authority to the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) to track sex offenders and help find missing children.

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. 1867, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012,” which was passed by the Senate on a 93-7 vote.  The legislation will be reviewed by a joint house-Senate conference committee to reconcile the bill with the House version of the legislation that was passed earlier this year. 

IV.     TOP FOP PRIORITY EMBEDDED IN DoD BILL: Statutory Arrest Authority Passed by Senate
Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, hailed the passage of S. 1867, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012,” which incorporated a top legislative priority for the FOP.

“The authorities of our civilian law enforcement officers employed by the DoD were in need of clarification with respect to the terms ‘arrest’ and ‘apprehension’,” Canterbury explained.  “The language in S. 1867 gives the Secretary of Defense the authority to grant arrest powers to its civilian law enforcement officers and codifies those powers in the statute just like the six DoD agencies whose officers already have arrest authority.”

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, was introduced but the FOP focused its efforts on including similar language in legislation reauthorizing the Defense Department.

Canterbury offered his thanks to Senators Carl M. Levin (D-MI) and John S. McCain III (R-AZ), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, respectively.  “We were very happy to work with Committee staff on this issue,” Canterbury said.

The bill was considered and passed on a 93-7 vote.  The measure will now go to a conference committee to be reconciled with the companion bill passed by the House earlier this year.  The FOP National Legislative Office will be working to ensure that our language is retained in the final bill.

“We’re not quite halfway there, but we achieved a significant victory yesterday,” Canterbury said.

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 will arrange for a room block and this information will be provided as soon as it is available.

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 Office

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