NAPO's Week on the HillMay 27, 2014
House Passes Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act
On May 20, 2014, the House of Representatives passed the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (H.R. 3530), as amended, by a vote of 409-0. NAPO has worked closely with the bill’s sponsor, Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX), to ensure this important piece of legislation passed the House. This bill accomplishes the following:
Repurposes and reauthorizes a grant program to create a victim-centered model block grant to help states and local governments develop and implement comprehensive victim-centered programs to train law enforcement to rescue victims, prosecute human traffickers, and restore the lives of victims.
Allows state and local human trafficking task forces to obtain wiretap warrants within their own state courts without federal approval in order to investigate crimes of child pornography, child sexual exploitation, and human trafficking.
Requires law enforcement to upload available photos of missing children into the National Criminal Information Center database and to notify the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children of any child reported missing from a foster care family home or childcare institution.
Reduces demand for human trafficking by clarifying current law and encouraging police, prosecutors, judges, and juries to target and punish persons who purchase illicit sexual activities from trafficking victims as human traffickers, rather than petty criminals.
Reduces affirmative defenses for persons who exploit children through interstate prostitution—requiring them to show by clear and convincing evidence, rather than a preponderance of the evidence (current law), that they believed the child to be an adult.
Reauthorizes the Victims of Child Abuse Act, (which is also a priority for NAPO), to provide funding to support regional and local Child Advocacy Centers (CACs), which offer a multi-disciplinary response to child abuse.
Increases the obligation cap for the Justice Department’s Crime Victims Fund, financed by criminal fines in order to provide services and support for victims of crime.
NAPO will continue to expend all available efforts to advocate for the passage of this legislation as it moves to the full Senate for consideration. Please support our efforts by contacting your Senators today to express support of the bill.
NAPO will keep our members updated on future developments. If you have any questions about this bill, please contact Melissa Nee at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Congressman Ted Poe." POE HAILS HOUSE PASSAGE OF THE BIPARTISAN "JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING ACT" N.p., 20 May 2014. Web. 23 May 2014.
NAPO Supports Eric Williams Correctional Officer Protection Act
On May 21, 2014, NAPO pledged our support of the Eric Williams Correctional Officer Protection Act of 2014 (S.2309), sponsored by Senator Patrick Toomey (R-PA). This bipartisan and bicameral bill was introduced with the support of Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) in the Senate and Congressman David McKinley (R-WV) and Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA) in the House on May 8, 2014. It is a great step forward in helping protect federal correctional officers and other staff at BOP facilities.
The risks to federal correctional officers have greatly increased over the past few years. This culminated with the death of Eric Williams, a federal correctional officer at USP Canaan in Pennsylvania. Afterwards, BOP instituted a pilot program to provide pepper spray to correctional officers at maximum security prisons. This was later expanded to all BOP administrative facilities. Most recently, in April 2014, BOP expanded the program to include members of the institution unit team (Unit Manager, Case Manager, Counselor, and Unit Secretary). BOP has stated that pepper spray “significantly reduced incident containment times.” It is important to note that many state prison facilities have long allowed correctional officers the ability to carry pepper spray.
The pepper spray pilot program is still not permanent and only applies to certain staff at high security and administrative facilities. This leaves correctional officers and other staff (who are required to respond to inmate emergencies) at medium security prisons, as well as non-correctional officers at high security prisons/administrative facilities vulnerable to considerable threats. (Many violent criminals are moved to medium security facilities after showing good behavior, although still remaining quite dangerous).
The Eric Williams Correctional Officer Protection Act will address these concerns by:
Authorizing all officers and employees of BOP who are required to respond to an emergency situation the ability to carry pepper spray.
Applies only to medium security prisons and above.
Requiring officers and employees who carry pepper spray to go through annual training before being allowed to carry/use it.
Allowing officers and employees to use pepper spray to reduce acts of violence, including when:
Committed by prisoners against themselves, other prisoners, prison visitors, and officers and employees of BOP.
Committed by prison visitors against themselves, prisoners, other visitors, and officers and employees of BOP.
Requiring a GAO report to study the effectiveness of issuing pepper spray to officers and employees.
NAPO looks forward to working with Senator Toomey and his fellow sponsors to pursue the passage of this bill. If you have any questions about this legislation, please contact Melissa Nee at: email@example.com.
United States. Cong. Senate. Eric Williams Correctional Officer Protection Act Summary. 113h Cong., 2nd sess. S. Doc. N.p.: Senator Toomey, n.d. Print.
NAPO Meets with Senator Hatch’s Staff
On May 22, 2014, NAPO met with a senior staffer for Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to discuss NAPO’s top priorities, which include the following pieces of legislation:
Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant Program Reauthorization Act: NAPO explained the importance of the BVP Grant Program, which 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: NAPO stressed the importance of passing this legislation, which would reauthorize the COPS Program for five years and raise the current hiring cap from $75,000 to $125,000. Additionally, the President’s FY 2015 Budget includes $247 million for the COPS Hiring Program. NAPO has been advocating for the COPS Hiring Program to be funded at a minimum of the amount requested by President Obama.
The staffer was very receptive to the above proposals. We also took the opportunity to express appreciation for the Senator’s support of the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program, the Justice for All Reauthorization Act, and the Victims of Child Abuse Reauthorization Act. We look forward to working with Senator Hatch and his team in the future.
FirstNet – New Emergency Responder Network’s Costs Might Already Be Covered
When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auctions off a valuable chunk of low-band spectrum to wireless providers next year, it will have to raise enough money from the sales to pay for a $7 billion, congressionally mandated communications network for first responders.
FirstNet, meant to fill in some of the communications gaps discovered after 9/11 by creating a reliable system for police, firefighters, and other responders to communicate over and across jurisdictions, has been a top priority for lawmakers, and the driving force behind the FCC’s recent auctions.
But while paying for FirstNet has been a significant part of the plan for government to buy spectrum from television broadcasters and sell it back to wireless companies in an “incentive auction” next year, Chairman Tom Wheeler told House lawmakers this week that the commission might hit that goal before the auction even begins.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we show up at the incentive auction having met the requirement, or at least taking a huge bite out of the requirement for funding FirstNet,” he said during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Most of the nearly $1.65 billion raised in an auction earlier this year of a set spectrum known as the H Block will go toward FirstNet, he said.
The FCC also expects a second auction scheduled for later this year of a set of spectrum known as AWS-3, which is currently used by federal agencies, to raise even more for the public safety network.
“We took a good chunk out of the FirstNet $7.5 billion with the H Block auction,” Wheeler said. “We expect, obviously, that the AWS-3 auction will do more.”
NAPO continues to support the FirstNet mission and will keep our members updated on its progress. If you have any questions about FirstNet, please contact Melissa Nee at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Margetta, Rob. "New Emergency Responder Network's Costs Might Already Be Covered." Congressional Quarterly (2014). CQ, 22 May 2014. Web. 23 May 2014. <http://www.cq.com/doc/news-4482370?4&search=duPtl4OY>.
NAPO Supports Second Chance Reauthorization Act
NAPO continues to work with fellow stakeholders to garner support for the Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2013, which 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.
To continue these efforts, NAPO sent the attached letter of support for the Second Chance Reauthorization Act to dozens of members of Congress to urge the passage of this important bill. Ltr_regarding_Second_Chance.pdf
If you have any questions about this bill, please contact Melissa Nee at: email@example.com.
NAPO Opposes Truck Size and Weight Increases
On May 23, 2014, NAPO sent the attached letter to House and Senate leadership expressing opposition to any proposals to allow truck size and weight increases. Ltr_regarding_trucks.pdf
NAPO recently learned that proposals to allow truck size or weight increases are being considered as part of annual appropriations legislation. We strongly object to such proposals. Allowing truck size or weight increases will negatively impact public safety.
Increasing truck size and weight will be detrimental to public safety officers and those they protect. Each year, thousands of people are killed or injured in traffic crashes involving large trucks. Making trucks longer and heavier will only worsen an already dangerous situation. To illustrate this point, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) found that multi-trailer trucks – doubles and triple-trailer trucks – “could be expected to experience an 11% higher overall fatal crash rate than single-trailer combinations” (USDOT, 2000).
Moreover, NAPO is deeply concerned that the current proposals under consideration have not been subject to any Congressional hearings. Appropriations legislation is not the proper vehicle to consider these changes, which will impact public safety.
NAPO will keep our members updated on the status of this proposal. If you have any questions, please contact Melissa Nee at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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