NAPO White House and AG Meetings; Week On Capitol HillSeptember 22, 2014
NAPO WASHINGTON REPORT
NAPO’s Executive Director Participates in White House Event & Discussions with Deputy Assistant to the President
On September 18, 2014, NAPO’s Executive Director, Bill Johnson, attended a special meeting of law enforcement stakeholders to discuss federal programs and policies on equipping state and local law enforcement, as well as law enforcement involvement in developing successful criminal and juvenile justice reforms.
The recent events in Ferguson, Missouri have raised important questions about state and local law enforcement’s use of military-type equipment and tactics. In light of these questions, the President has directed a review of federal programs and funding that enable state and local law enforcement to purchase or obtain this equipment. The review is being led by White House staff, including the Office of Management and Budget, the Domestic Policy Council, the National Security Council, and relevant U.S. agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Treasury and Justice. NAPO will be involved in this review moving forward.
Immediately following the law enforcement stakeholder meeting, Johnson attended a meeting hosted by Mr. Roy Austin, Deputy Assistant to the President for Urban Affairs, Justice, and Opportunity. The meeting included a discussion about law enforcement involvement in developing successful criminal and juvenile justice reforms. In advance of the broader meeting, Johnson had the opportunity to talk to Mr. Austin on September 15, 2014 in regards to the President’s review of programs and funding that enables state and local law enforcement to purchase military-grade equipment.
NAPO will keep our members updated on the status and results of the President’s review. If you have any questions about the meetings above or the White House review, please contact Bill Johnson at: email@example.com.
NAPO’s Executive Director Meets with Attorney General Holder
On September 18, 2014, NAPO’s Executive Director, Bill Johnson, met with Attorney General Eric Holder. The meeting was used as a follow-up to last month’s teleconference with the Attorney General, which included a discussion on the Department of Justice’s “Pattern and Practice” investigation of Ferguson. The meeting provided NAPO with another opportunity to engage the Attorney General on law enforcement and criminal justice related matters impacting our membership.
NAPO remains heavily engaged on this issue, and will keep our members updated as investigations move forward. If you have any questions about NAPO’s interaction with Attorney General Holder, please contact Bill Johnson at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senate Judiciary Committee Passes Second Chance Reauthorization Act & Associated Meetings on Capitol Hill
On September 18, 2014, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Second Change Reauthorization Act. This is a huge victory for NAPO, as we have aggressively pursued the passage of this legislation since it was introduced.
To prepare for the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting, NAPO lobbied the Hill over the past week to advocate for the legislation. NAPO met with senior staffers for Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) to provide information and highlight our strong support for the bill. (Senators Lee and Flake are members of the Judiciary Committee). These meetings supplemented the many contacts we have made over the past several months to garner support this bill.
The Second Chance Reauthorization Act improves state and local grant programs to promote successful prisoner reentry and improve public safety. This legislation continues targeted funding for reentry programs at the state and local level that have been proven to reduce recidivism, lead to better outcomes for those released from prison, and save prison costs.
NAPO looks forward to continuing to work with fellow stakeholders to pass this legislation. If you have any questions about the Second Chance Reauthorization Act, please contact Melissa Nee at: email@example.com.
Senate Judiciary Committee Passes Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act
On September 18, 2014, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act as an amendment to the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act. The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act was approved as an amendment by a unanimous vote of 18-0. This legislation, sponsored by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), will boost support for and protection of victims of human trafficking by increasing law enforcement resources, enhancing victims’ services, and increasing penalties in an effort to combat child sex trafficking, child pornography, sexual exploitation, and human trafficking.
NAPO has worked closely with Senator Cornyn’s staff to advance this bill. (Senator Cornyn noted NAPO’s support of the legislation during his Committee statements). This is a victory for NAPO, as we have worked hard to garner additional support for this legislation by briefing multiple senior staffers to advocate that this bill move forward.
Among other provisions, the legislation would take the following steps to curb human trafficking:
- Create a deficit-neutral “Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund,” financed through fines on related crimes, which the Attorney General can use to enhance support programs for victims of human trafficking and child pornography.
- Increase federal resources available for domestic human trafficking victim support by up to $30 million.
- Create a new grant program to help states and local governments develop victim-centered programs to rescue victims, prosecute human traffickers, and restore the lives of victims. This grant program will be funded entirely through the “Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund” created by the bill.
- Allow all property involved in a human trafficking offense to be forfeited to the government and will allow some funds associated with the forfeiture of these assets to be provided as compensation to victims who provide information or act as witnesses.
- Allow for the use of cutting-edge investigative tools in state and local human trafficking investigations.
- Reduce demand for human trafficking by clarifying current law encouraging law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and juries to target and punish the buyers and purchasers of trafficking victims as human traffickers themselves.
We are grateful that Senator Cornyn mentioned NAPO as a supporter of the bill during the Judiciary Committee meeting, and we look forward to working with Senator Cornyn and his staff to ensure the passage of this important piece of legislation. If you have any questions about the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, please contact Melissa Nee at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
"United States Senator John Cornyn, Texas." News Releases. N.p., 18 Sept. 2014. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.<http://www.cornyn.senate.gov/public/index.cfmp=NewsReleases&ContentRecord_id=468da5c2-007b-4c61-9e1b-02b8eea9730e>.
Senate Judiciary Committee Passes Amendment to Suspend PREA Penalties on Byrne JAG and OJJDP Programs
On September 18, 2014, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed an amendment, offered by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), to the Second Chance Reauthorization Act that would suspend the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) penalties on the Byrne Justice Assistant Grant and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) programs for four years and eliminate the penalty on the Violence Against Women Act program entirely.
NAPO worked closely with fellow stakeholders to garner support to pass this amendment, which will help state and local law enforcement protect victims by ensuring federal grant funds are not inappropriately diverted for other purposes. The stakeholder letter of support is attached to this report for your review.
NAPO looks forward to continuing to work with fellow stakeholders as this issue moves forward. If you have any questions about this amendment, please contact Melissa Nee at: email@example.com.
Senate Passes “Don’t Tax Our Fallen Public Safety Heroes Act”
On September 18, 2014, the Don’t Tax Our Fallen Public Safety Heroes Act, sponsored by Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), passed the Senate by unanimous consent.
NAPO pledged our support for this bill on September 12, 2014. This legislation 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. Survivor benefits for federal law enforcement officers are currently not subject to federal income tax, but there is some ambiguity about the treatment of these benefits for similar state-based programs.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) signed on as a cosponsor of the bill on September 8, 2014. Senator McConnell noted: “This legislation is about honoring the sacrifices of the front-line in protecting Kentucky communities, state and local law enforcement officers, and ensuring the surviving families of those killed in action are treated the same as federal officers.”
NAPO looks forward to working with Senators Ayotte and McConnell ensure this bill becomes law. If you have any questions about this bill, please contact Melissa Nee at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
"U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell." Press Releases. N.p., 12 Sept. 2014. Web. 12 Sept. 2014.<http://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/public/index.cfmp=PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=378e3b4e-a8ad-47fa-8772-f76ebc04b8ca&ContentType_id=c19bc7a5-2bb9-4a73-b2ab-3c1b5191a72b&Group_id=0fd6ddca-6a05-4b26-8710-a0b7b59a8f1f>.
NAPO Supports the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act
On September 19, 2014, NAPO pledged our support for the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act (H.R. 5503). A bipartisan group of lawmakers from across the country introduced the legislation last week. U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Charles Schumer, Robert Menendez, Cory Booker, Richard Blumenthal, Chris Murphy, Elizabeth Warren, Jeanne Shaheen, and Jeff Merkley introduced the legislation in the Senate. Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, and Peter King introduced the bipartisan House bill with 37 additional co-sponsors. NAPO’s letter of support to Congresswoman Maloney is attached to this report.
The Zadroga bill’s two critical programs providing medical treatment and compensation for 9/11 heroes – the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund – are set to expire in October 2015 and October 2016 respectively. This bill would continue these programs for 25 more years, through 2041.
9/11 responders and survivors are still battling serious health crises resulting from exposure to the toxins at Ground Zero. More than 30,000 9/11 responders and survivors have an illness or injury caused by the attacks or their aftermath, and over two-thirds of those have more than one illness. Many are disabled and can no longer work. They are suffering from a host of chronic diseases: asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease and gastroesophageal reflux disease, and many more.
Medical research has identified more than 60 types of cancer caused by 9/11 toxins. More than 2,900 people have been diagnosed with cancers caused or made worse by the aftermath of the attacks - more than 800 New York Fire Department members and more than 550 New York Police Department personnel are struggling with serious 9/11-related illnesses, not including the more than 70 firefighters and 60 NYPD officers who have died from their 9/11-related illnesses.
Responders came from all over the country to aid in the response to the attacks. And some area residents, workers and survivors have since moved and are currently receiving care in cities and states across the country. Participants enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Program for treatment currently reside in all 50 states and in 429 of the 435 Congressional districts in the country.
These heroes put their lives on the line to serve us, and must be afforded every resource available as they cope with chronic health conditions caused by exposure to toxic chemicals at the World Trade Center. The bill will also honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our nation. James Zadroga, a New York City Police Department Detective and member of NAPO, died of respiratory disease caused by his exposure to toxic chemicals at Ground Zero. It is our obligation and duty to remember these heroes and ensure that survivors who risked their lives to protect us continue to receive the treatment and compensation that they deserve.
NAPO looks forward to working with fellow stakeholders to pass this important legislation. If you have any questions about this bill, please contact Melissa Nee at: email@example.com.
"Lawmakers Introduce Critical Reauthorization of James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act."
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. N.p., 17 Sept. 2014. Web. 19 Sept. 2014 <http://maloney.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/lawmakers-introduce-critical-reauthorization-of-james-zadroga-911-health>.
NAPO Responds to HSGAC Hearing and Meets with Senate Armed Services Committee
On September 17, 2014, NAPO submitted a statement for the official record in response to the following Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) hearing: Oversight of Federal Programs for Equipping State and Local Law Enforcement. The primary purpose of the HSGAC hearing was to examine federal programs that enable state and local police departments to acquire military equipment, such as the Defense Department’s 1033 program for surplus property. NAPO’s statement is attached to this report for your review.
As a follow-on to the hearing, NAPO met with Senate Armed Services Committee staffers on September 16, 2014 to discuss our views of the 1033 Program. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) has said that the Senate will review the 1033 Program. There is potential that the review could be considered as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.
Similar to the facts outlined in the attached statement for the record, NAPO used the meeting to stress that the vast majority of equipment provided under the 1033 Program is defensive in nature. Furthermore, the 1033 Program enables law enforcement departments to garner equipment that they would otherwise be unable to afford. NAPO highlighted that ending the program would leave law enforcement departments unable to equip their officers with the necessary tools to keep their communities safe.
NAPO continues to closely track pending legislation related to the 1033 Program, and we will keep our members updated as bills are introduced. If you have any questions about this issue, please contact Melissa Nee at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NAPO Meeting on Capitol Hill – Congressman Schock
On September 15, 2014, NAPO met with a senior staffer for Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) to outline our top legislative priorities. NAPO opened the meeting by expressing appreciation for the Congressman’s support of the 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. Both formulas were enacted in the 1980s because Congress was concerned Social Security paid unintended benefits to workers who had spent most of their careers in “non-covered” jobs. However, the formulas go too far and penalize workers with split careers who contributed a great deal to Social Security, but retire under their “non-covered” pensions. 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.
NAPO also highlighted other legislative priorities, which include the following bills:
Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant Act: The BVP Grant Program provides federal funds to state and local law enforcement departments to assist state and local law enforcement efforts to purchase bullet resistant vests. NAPO continues to expend all available efforts to garner additional cosponsors for the House and Senate versions of this bill.
Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Improvement and Reauthorization Act: This bill would reauthorize the COPS Program for five years and raise the current hiring cap from $75,000 to $125,000. The COPS Office has been extremely successful in implementing and carrying out its designated objectives. Since its creation, the COPS Office has assisted over 13,000 of the nation’s 18,000 jurisdictions with over $14 billion in funding to hire more than 125,000 additional officers. Reauthorizing this program will allow for the continuation of a highly successful program that keeps our communities safe.
Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act (JMHCA): The Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) created the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) to help states and counties design and implement collaborative efforts between criminal justice and mental health systems. The JMHCA reauthorizes the successful MIOTCRA and extends the JMHCP for five years. The JMHCP can help law enforcement agencies across the United States in their responsibilities in assisting citizens with mental health issues.
NAPO appreciated the opportunity to meet with the Congressman’s staff and looks forward to continuing to work with the Congressman in the future. If you have any questions about this meeting or any of the priorities summarized above, please contact Melissa Nee at: email@example.com.
NAPO Meeting on Capitol Hill – Body Cameras
Per previous Washington Reports, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, urging the Department of Justice to help fund local police departments’ purchase of small body-worn cameras in order to increase transparency, decrease tensions between police and community members, and create a record of events. NAPO appreciated the opportunity to meet with Congressman Schiff’s staff in August 2014, and looks forward to working with the Congressman and his staff as this issue moves forward.
On September 15, 2014, NAPO met with Senator Mike Lee’s (R-UT) staff, and had the opportunity to highlight the importance of including state and local agencies, as well as law enforcement leadership, in discussions regarding body camera requirements. We also noted that body camera requirement decisions should be made on an agency-by-agency basis.
NAPO looks forward to continuing to discuss this issue with members of Congress as legislation relating to body camera policies is introduced. If you have any questions about these meetings, please contact Melissa Nee at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NAPO Roundtable Discussion
Please join NAPO October 24 - 25, at the Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa in Las Vegas to participate in a NAPO leadership Roundtable Discussion. Topics include the Affordable Care Act; Current Labor Issues Nationally; Our Opponents’ Legislative and P.R. Strategy; National Image and Awareness of NAPO; and Recruiting and Growth for our Association. Be a part of setting the direction for our organization’s future.
Please complete the registration form attached to this report and return the document to NAPO attention: Elizabeth Loranger by October 6. Fax to (703) 684-0515 or e-mail to email@example.com.
Please monitor NAPO’s website www.napo.org, and Facebook page: National Association of Police Organizations, and follow us on Twitter at NAPOpolice for breaking news and updates.