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NAPOs Legislative Priorities
The NAPO Legislative Priorities Handbook for the new, 113th Congress has been updated. NAPO will focus on the following priorities as it continues to advance the interests of America’s law enforcement officers.
- Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act (Collective Bargaining) - NAPO will continue to actively support the passage of this important legislation, which extends basic collective bargaining rights to state and local public safety officers.
- State and Local Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights - NAPO will pursue the passage of this important piece of legislation, which will implement standards and procedures to guide both state and local law enforcement agencies and law enforcement officers during internal investigations, administrative hearings, and evaluations of citizen complaints.
- Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program, Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) Program, & Homeland Security Grants - NAPO will continue to support and advocate for increased funding for these vital Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security state and local law enforcement assistance grant programs through the passage of legislation and the federal appropriations process.
- Full Funding of the Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant Program - NAPO will continue to support Congress’s reauthorization of the BVP Grant Program. Fully funding the BVP Grant Program at its authorized level will ensure that all of America’s law enforcement officers are provided with the life-saving protection they need.
- Mandatory Social Security Participation - Under a mandatory Social Security system, law enforcement officers would pay more for fewer benefits, when compared to their current pension plans. NAPO supports a long-term solution, so long as such a solution does not mandate that all or some state and local government employees, including newly hired ones and their employing agencies, be required to pay Social Security taxes. NAPO will continue to serve as the key representative of law enforcement in defending this issue before members of Congress.
- Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) - The loss of income caused by GPO and WEP is a financial strain on law enforcement officers and their families. NAPO supports efforts to totally repeal the GPO and WEP from Title II of the Social Security Act, and will continue to actively work to see the passage of this legislation.
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Rules on Normal Retirement Age - NAPO was successful in moving the enactment date for IRS Normal Retirement Age regulations from January 1, 2011 to January 1, 2013, and later efforts by NAPO and several of its member associations resulted in postponement to January 1, 2015. NAPO is continuing its efforts to completely exclude governmental plans from these regulations.
- Gang Deterrence and Prevention - NAPO looks forward to working with Congress to ensure that law enforcement is given the support it needs in the fight against gang violence.
- Extradition of Cop-Killers - NAPO will continue to lobby the Administration and Congress to reconsider the U.S. - Mexico Extradition Treaty and to encourage the Mexican government to work with the Mexican Supreme Court to reconsider its 2001 decision blocking extradition to the United States. Federal action will ensure that this growing issue of the United States Government’s inability to extradite violent criminals who flee to Mexico is rightly addressed.
- Increased Penalties for Crimes Against Law Enforcement Officers - NAPO will strongly support legislation, at both the federal and state level, that would increase criminal penalties for crimes committed against law enforcement officers.
- Firearms Issues - NAPO recognizes that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does provide a legal individual right for law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. NAPO will continue to support the following:
- The rights of law abiding citizens to acquire a carry permit
- Better and more accurate background checks to keep weapons out of the wrong hands
- Changing the culture of violence that is prevalent in American media, entertainment, and society
- Efforts to provide easier, and less stigmatizing, access to mental healthcare
- Efforts to harden potential targets of mass violence by providing age-appropriate education for students and citizens regarding how to respond if a shooting occurs
- Increased penalties, at both the federal and state level, for offenses committed with firearms
- Mental Health Treatment for Offenders - NAPO will continue to support the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP), which helps criminal justice and mental health agencies work collaboratively towards better outcomes. NAPO will also continue to support efforts to improve access to mental health services for people who come into contact with the criminal justice system, and to provide law enforcement officers the tools they need to identify and respond to mental health issues in the community.
- Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) - NAPO is actively working on improvements to PSOB legislation, and will continue to do so. Also, changes to the BVP Grant Program requiring agencies to have a mandatory wear policy in place for uniformed patrol officers can potentially have an effect on PSOB benefits. NAPO is pursuing a statutory fix that would make clear that whether an officer was or was not wearing his or her vest should not be a criterion in deciding if a family receives PSOB.
- Federal Consent Decree Fairness Act – NAPO will continue to support efforts to limit the length of consent decrees and to protect the interests of state and local governments in managing their own affairs.
- Law Enforcement Officers’ Personnel Records Privacy - NAPO will continue to push for a federal statute, or rule, which would protect law enforcement officers from overly intrusive discovery in federal court (civil and criminal), by allowing a judge to order that relevant information be made available only after review or redaction by the court.
- Internet Police Officers Protection Act - NAPO will continue to support legislation, which would prohibit the posting of personal information about officers, to ensure that the private information of law enforcement officers and their families is shielded from unfair and dangerous public disclosure.
- The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) - Rapid advancements in technology necessitate an update to CALEA. NAPO continues to represent the needs of law enforcement on this issue. Specifically, when updating CALEA, law enforcement requires protection from added restrictions on wiretapping and from lengthening the timeline to receive data.
- The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) - Like CALEA, this legislation must be updated to reflect technological advancements. As Congress moves forward with reform, NAPO will reaffirm that law enforcement’s investigative timelines should not be lengthened by more stringent restrictions on the ability to obtain communications information.
- First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) - The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act directed FirstNet to establish a single nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network. The legislation also authorized the creation of a formal Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC), which allows first responders to directly influence the governance of the new network. NAPO was afforded the opportunity to name a member to the PSAC, and will continue to support the FirstNet mission.
- National Blue Alert - NAPO maintains its strong and active support of the Blue Alert System. Creating a nationwide system that responds to criminal action against law enforcement officers will ensure the safety of the officers and the public.
- Flexible Spending Arrangements - The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act negatively impacts Flexible Spending Arrangements. Beginning in 2013, the amount an officer could contribute to a Flexible Spending Arrangements was decreased from $5,000 to $2,500 per year. Many law enforcement officers currently contribute more than $2,500 into these accounts, as officers use Flexible Spending Arrangements to fund expenses that are unlikely to decrease. Therefore, NAPO is committed to increasing the limit on what an officer may contribute.
- “Cadillac” Health Insurance Plan Tax - NAPO will continue to oppose the “Cadillac” health insurance plan tax, as the new tax will negatively impact public safety officers. NAPO is reviewing ways to exempt law enforcement officers from this tax, and is engaging Congress on this issue.
- Postal Police Officers (PPO) Performance Duties - Congress prescribed law enforcement functions for the Postal Service in Title 18 United States Code, Section 3061. These functions are to be carried out by Postal Inspectors and uniformed police. Congress granted the Postal Service the authority to have PPOs serve warrants and subpoenas and conduct certain postal investigations. The Postal Service has not yet availed itself of this authority. NAPO continues to work with members of Congress to raise awareness of this disparity and to improve protection of postal facilities.
- Sequestration - NAPO continues to work with the Administration and Congress to resolve difficult public safety budget issues, as certain core functions of the federal government, including public safety, cannot be shut down.
- Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) & Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) - NAPO recognizes the Guard and Reserve are essential to the strength of our nation and the well-being of our communities, and honors our country’s service members and their families. NAPO will continue to honor and enforce the USERRA; provide managers and supervisors the tools they need to effectively manage those employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve; and continually recognize and support our country’s service members and their families.
- Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) - NAPO is working with its counterparts to urge that the recent DPPA amendment be modified to include language that will not preclude law enforcement officials from carrying out their daily duties. If the current language is not modified, law enforcement officers will be subject to large fines, and even the loss of their licenses, for de minimus actions.
- Metal Theft Prevention Act - NAPO is concerned that this bill’s confidentiality provision will prevent law enforcement officers from accessing information needed to solve metal theft cases. NAPO will continue to work with the bill’s sponsors and cosponsors to advocate for changes to this act’s confidentiality clause.
Justice Reinvestment Initiative
On April 12, 2013, NAPO attended a Congressional staff briefing on the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), which included lessons learned in the states on reducing recidivism and curbing corrections costs.
The briefing provided an opportunity for Denise O’Donnell (Director, Bureau of Justice Assistance), John Wetzel (Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections), Jim Seward (General Counsel, Office of the Governor, State of South Dakota), David Guice (Commissioner, Division of Adult Correction, North Carolina Department of Public Safety), and Michael Thompson (Council of State Governments Justice Center), to discuss effective ways to address the challenges of rising corrections costs, while also increasing public safety. The speakers explained that a number of states have responded to these challenges with “justice reinvestment” strategies.
“Justice reinvestment” is a data-driven approach that ensures that policymaking is based on a comprehensive analysis of criminal justice data and the latest research about what works to reduce crime, and is tailored to the distinct public safety needs of a jurisdiction. In the first phase, experts analyze a variety of state-specific data to develop practical, consensus-based policies that reduce spending on corrections and generate savings that can be reinvested in strategies to improve public safety. In the second phase, jurisdictions translate the new policies into practice and monitor data to ensure that program and system enhancements achieve their projected outcomes.
The speakers explained the importance of engaging diverse constituencies in the “justice reinvestment” process, including elected and appointed state and local officials, researchers, and criminal justice policy experts, as well as a broad range of stakeholders in the jurisdiction, including prosecutors, public defenders, judges, law enforcement officials, community leaders, etc.
The speakers also noted that the JRI requires a focus on the people most likely to reoffend and noted the importance of reinvesting in high performing programs, strengthening community supervision, and incentivizing performance, which will yield reduced recidivism and lower corrections costs.
NAPO will attend a follow-on JRI briefing on April 18th, which will outline how states use data to get smart on crime.
Please RSVP to Jeff Burdette at email@example.com or (202) 594-7931
NAPOs 35th Annual Convention
Saturday, July 20 – Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Millennium Maxwell House Hotel ~ Nashville, Tennessee
For Hotel Reservations: (800) 457-4460
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