NAPO Boycotts CNN Advertisers; NAPO in the News; DPPA Hill Briefing; Loretta Lynch Sworn in As Attorney General; NAPO Supports Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act; NAPO Supports Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act; NAPO Hill Briefing with Rep. Sinema’s Staff; NAPO Supports Law Enforcements Officers Equity Act; & NAPO Attends Hill Event on Sentencing ReformJune 22, 2015
NAPO Boycotts CNN Advertisers
As reported in last week’s Washington Report, CNN has extended its ongoing streak of anti-police rhetoric and misinformation by calling the violent attacker at the Dallas Police Department “courageous and brave.” Last week, NAPO sent the attached letter to the head of CNN, protesting these outrageous comments. In addition to sending a letter to CNN, NAPO has sent letters to major CNN advertisers, calling on them to address this situation with CNN. (A sample letter to a CNN advertiser is attached to this report).
Our hope is that each member group, and more importantly, officers and their family and friends, can use our letters as a template to write and send their own. CNN will not change their philosophy about America’s police, but if their advertisers feel the pinch, we can at least hope to change their behavior.
If you have any questions about our efforts, please contact Bill Johnson at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NAPO in the News
On June 17, 2015, NAPO’s Executive Director, Bill Johnson, did an interview with News/Talk 760 AM WJR Detroit to highlight our efforts to speak out against CNN’s continued anti-police rhetoric and misinformation.
To learn more about our efforts, please see the above article.
On June 16, 2015, Johnson was quoted in a Washington Times article, which discussed a spike in shootings and homicides in cities across the United States.
When the reporter discussed the balance of fighting crime and protecting civilian rights, and explained that officers feel torn between upholding the law and protecting themselves from potential legal charges sought by elected officials and civil rights groups, Johnson explained:
“There’s a feeling amongst the actual rank-and-file officers who are on the street, the men and women doing the job, that they do not enjoy the backup or the support of some elected officials…Just like any other human being on the planet, police weigh the consequences of their actions in the back of their head before committing to any action. They ask themselves, ‘Will I go the extra mile? Will I risk my career or my own freedom?’”
The full article is available at the following link: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jun/16/murder-and-shooting-rates-spike-as-police-try-to-b/.
On June 10, 2015, Johnson presented NAPO’s Legislative Award for outstanding support of the law enforcement community to Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH). Senator Ayotte has pledged her support for many pieces of legislation to provide resources and protection to the law enforcement community. We have had the pleasure of working closely with Senator Ayotte and her staff over the past year on the Don’t Tax Our Fallen Public Safety Heroes Act, which was signed into law in May 2015.
The Don’t Tax Our Fallen Public Safety Heroes Act clarifies that both federal and state death benefits for the survivors of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty should be treated the same and not be subjected to federal income tax. This legislation will ensure that families of fallen officers are not forced to pay an excessive tax after their loved ones gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect our nation.
Political News included information on NAPO’s award to Senator Ayotte in a recent article. The article included Senator Ayotte’s statement of appreciation for the award:
"I am honored and humbled to receive this award. Public safety officers in New Hampshire and across the country risk their lives every day in order to keep us safe, and I am committed to continuing my work in the Senate to support law enforcement and eliminate burdens for the families of our fallen and disabled public safety officers."
The full article is available at the following site: http://politicalnews.me/?id=33984&keys=AWARD-PUBLIC-SAFETY-LAWENFORCEMENT.
Johnson was quoted in a recent Baltimore Sun article regarding officer involved deaths. In the article, Johnson explained:
“As horrible as it is, the officer can do it right by the book and someone may tragically lose their life…Officers involved in deaths are intensely scrutinized – by internal affairs units, prosecutors, the news media, lawyers, civilian review boards and, sometimes federal investigators…I don’t think it’s correct for people to say that these things get swept under the carpet.”
The full article is available at the following site: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-gray-police-rare-charges-20150516-story.html#page=1.
NAPO will continue to ensure or members’ voices are heard loud and clear on the Hill, with the Administration, and in the media. If you have any questions about the publications cited above, please contact Bill Johnson at: email@example.com.
NAPO Briefing on Capitol Hill – Congressman Deutch’s Staff
On June 19, 2015, NAPO met with a senior staffer for Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL). The meeting focused on our proposed modifications to the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA). (NAPO met with the Congressman’s staff on this issue in May 2015, and used last week’s meeting to flesh out our proposal).
The DPPA requires state motor vehicle departments to receive permission from individuals before their personal motor vehicle record may be sold or released. The DPPA amendment authorizes a private right of action for knowing violations, and a court may award automatic “damages” in the amount of $2,500 for each time a record was accessed, even if no actual damages were proved, as well as attorney fees and other litigation costs. Law enforcement officers are subject to these stringent punishments, even if they did not review files with criminal intent.
NAPO’s proposed language modifications include adding a clause that explains that penalties will be applied only if persons access information with the specific intent to secure an economic benefit. Also, NAPO proposes removing the automatic imposition of the $2,500 penalty for violations of this act, as well as adding a statement that explains there must be repeated disregard of this law for sanctions to take effect.
If the language is not modified, law enforcement officers will be subject to large fines, and even the loss of their licenses for de minimus actions.
Congressman Deutch’s staff continues to be very receptive to our proposals.
NAPO will continue to aggressively lobby members of Congress to gain support for our proposed language changes to the DPPA. We will keep our members updated on the status of these initiatives. If you have any questions about our efforts, please contact Bill Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Melissa Nee (email@example.com).
Loretta Lynch Sworn In as Attorney General
On June 17, 2015, Loretta Lynch was formally sworn in as Attorney General of the United States.
NAPO continues to stay engaged with Department of Justice leadership. NAPO's President, Michael McHale, and Executive Director, Bill Johnson, met with Attorney General Lynch in her office during Police Week. It was the first national level meeting Attorney General Lynch had with any law enforcement association. During that meeting, McHale and Johnson emphasized the need to rebuild trust between the U.S. Department of Justice and state and local law enforcement officers. They brought rank and file's legitimate concerns about what's going on in this country directly to the top.
McHale and Johnson are scheduled to meet with Attorney General Lynch again tomorrow to continue a dialogue on the needs of state and local law enforcement officers.
NAPO will continue to expend every available effort to ensure our officers have the support that they need, as they continue to work to protect our nation. We will continue to engage the Administration and members of Congress to ensure our officers’ voices are heard loud and clear, and they receive the protection they need.
If you have any questions about NAPO’s interactions with the Administration, please contact Bill Johnson at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NAPO Supports the Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act
On June 15, 2015, NAPO joined other stakeholders in a meeting with Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA) to discuss the Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act. NAPO pledged our support for the Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act shortly after it was introduced in April 2015. The legislation would improve outcomes for the criminal justice system, the mental health system, and for those with mental health conditions by doing the following, among other things:
Extending the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA), and continuing support for mental health courts and crisis intervention teams;
Authorizing investments in veterans treatment courts, which serve arrested veterans who suffer from PTSD, substance addiction, and other mental health conditions;
Supporting state and local efforts to identify people with mental health conditions at each point in the criminal justice system in order to appropriately direct them to mental health services;
Increasing focus on corrections-based programs, such as transitional services that reduce recidivism rates and screening practices that identify inmates with mental health conditions;
Supporting the development of curricula for police academies and orientations; and
Developing programs to train federal law enforcement officers in how to respond appropriately to incidents involving a person with a mental health condition.
During the meeting, NAPO took the opportunity to thank Congressman Collins for his work on this critical piece of legislation. We look forward to continuing to work with Congressman Collins, his staff, and fellow stakeholders to pass this legislation during this Congress.
If you have any questions about the Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act, please contact Melissa Nee at: email@example.com.
NAPO Supports the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act
Last week, NAPO spoke with Congressman Joe Courtney’s (D-CT) staff about our efforts to garner support for the Congressman’s recently introduced bill, the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act. This legislation would repeal the excise tax on high-cost health insurance plans scheduled to go into effect in 2018. The excise tax was established in a later version of the Affordable Care Act, (“Obamacare”), but its scheduled implementation was delayed five years by an effort led by Congressman Courtney with 191 House colleagues in 2010.
NAPO is very concerned that beginning in 2018, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act imposes a new 40% annual excise tax on taxpayers who are covered by high cost health insurance plans, so-called “Cadillac” health insurance plans. This tax would apply to plans with premiums at or above $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for a family, including worker and employer contributions to flexible spending or healthcare savings accounts.
Although higher thresholds are set for workers in high risk professions, such as public safety officers ($11,850 for an individual and $30,950 for a family), to qualify for the higher threshold amounts, the majority of members in the healthcare plan must work in high risk professions. Many public safety officers would not qualify for the higher threshold amounts, as they participate in general healthcare plans where the majority of participants do not work in high risk professions.
This bill would completely repeal the “Cadillac” health insurance plan tax, and ensure that our public safety officers and their families are not unduly burdened.
NAPO will continue to work with Congressman Courtney’s staff and other stakeholders to repeal the “Cadillac” tax. If you have any questions about this bill, please contact Melissa Nee at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Congressman Joe Courtney : Press Releases : Courtney Announces New Legislation to Repeal Excise Tax, Protect Workers' Health Benefits."Congressman Joe Courtney : Press Releases : Courtney Announces New Legislation to Repeal Excise Tax, Protect Workers' Health Benefits. N.p., 28 May 2015. Web. 03 May 2015.
NAPO Briefing on Capitol Hill: Congresswoman Sinema’s Staff
Last week, NAPO met with a senior staffer for Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to discuss NAPO’s top priorities. In addition to discussing our support of the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act (see above), NAPO briefed the staffer on the following pieces of legislation:
Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act of 2015: This legislation would extend the authorization of the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program through fiscal year 2018. NAPO strongly believes the advancement of this legislation is essential to assist state and local law enforcement efforts to purchase bullet resistant vests for their officers.
Social Security Fairness Act: This bill would strike the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO) formulas currently used to calculate Social Security benefits. These formulas penalize workers with split careers who contributed a great deal to Social Security, but retire under their “non-covered” pensions. These provisions take hard-earned Social Security dollars out of the hands of retirees or their spouses – money that would otherwise be spent on essential goods and services and bolster the local economy. By significantly scaling back and reducing Social Security benefits for law enforcement officers and their survivors, as GPO and WEP do, officers and their families are provided much less protection against financial difficulties.
Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act: After nearly a decade long fight to stand by our first responders who answered the call of duty on September 11th, Congress finally fulfilled its moral obligation in late 2010 and provided our 9/11 heroes with the health care and financial compensation they deserved by passing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. With the Zadroga bill’s two critical programs – the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund – set to expire in October 2015 and October 2016 respectively, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act will permanently extend these critical programs.
The staffer was very supportive of our proposals. NAPO looks forward to working with Congresswoman Sinema and her staff in the future to advance our top priorities. If you have any questions about this meeting, please contact Melissa Nee at: email@example.com.
NAPO Supports Law Enforcements Officers Equity Act
Last week, NAPO sent the attached letter of support for the Law Enforcement Officers Equity Act, introduced by Congressman Peter King (R-NY).
The Law Enforcement Officers Equity Act will expand the definition of "law enforcement officer" for retirement purposes to include certain Federal law enforcement officers.
NAPO strongly supports this legislation, as these officers face the same risks and challenges as law enforcement personnel currently classified as law enforcement officers. This bill will ensure that officers across the country, who put their lives on the line each and every day to protect us, earn the benefits that they deserve.
NAPO is most grateful for Congressman King’s steadfast support of the law enforcement community, and we look forward to working with the Congressman and his talented staff to advance this critical piece of legislation.
If you have any questions about this legislation, please contact Melissa Nee: (firstname.lastname@example.org).
NAPO Attends Hill Event on Sentencing Reform
Last week, NAPO attended an event, hosted by the Pew Charitable Trusts, on sentencing and corrections reforms at the state level. Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) co-hosted the event, which included a keynote address from Governor Dennis Daugaard (R-SD).
The following panelists discussed sentencing reform projects in their states:
Chief Justice Matthew Durrant (Utah Supreme Court)
State Senator Gerald Malloy (South Carolina)
Jim Steward (General Counsel, Governor of South Dakota)
NAPO will continue to stay engaged as Congress considers reforms to the Federal sentencing and corrections systems. If you have any questions about this event, please contact Melissa Nee at: email@example.com.