NAPO Washington Reports

Legislative Positions & Sponsor/Cosponsor Spreadsheet Update, Senate CJS Bill Advances, NAPO Meetings on Capitol Hill, New Legislation

June 9, 2014

NAPO’s Legislative Positions Update

NAPO’s updated “Legislative Positions” document can be viewed at the following site:  http://www.napo.org/files/2214/0233/9889/Legislative_Positions_Update_June_9_2014_-_FINAL.pdf. The table denotes all status updates in yellow. Also the updated sponsor/cosponsor list for the major pieces of legislation NAPO is currently working on in the House and the Senate is available at the following site:  http://www.napo.org/washington-report/sponsor-cosponsor-spreadsheet/.

NAPO will continue to provide status updates on our top legislative priorities.  If you have any questions about any of the legislation NAPO is currently working on, please contact Melissa Nee at: mnee@napo.org 

Senate Appropriations Committee Advances CJS Bill

 On June 5, 2014, NAPO attended a Senate Appropriations Committee mark-up, where the Committee advanced the Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) spending bill by a vote of 30-0.  The following includes details on the bill pertinent to NAPO:

  • Department of Justice (DOJ) Funding:  The Committee recommended a total of $27,996,816,000 for DOJ. The recommendation is $260,257,000 above the fiscal year 2014 funding level and $23,282,000 above the President’s budget request.

  • State and Local Law Enforcement Activities:  In total, the Committee recommended $2,263,300,000 for State and local law enforcement and crime prevention grant programs, including $2,192,300,000 in discretionary appropriations. The discretionary total is $1,000,000 below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $10,300,000 above the budget estimate.

  • Community Oriented Policing Services Programs:  The Committee’s recommendation provides $224,000,000 for community oriented policing services. The recommendation is $10,000,000 above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. 

  • Blue Alert System:  NAPO’s work led to Senate Appropriations Committee leadership’s decision to add Blue Alert language to the Senate CJS Appropriations bill report.  The text directs DOJ to report, not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of the Appropriations bill, on the costs and feasibility of establishing a national Blue Alert communications network. The report will include an evaluation of the potential use of existing systems of infrastructure that could facilitate the implementation of this type of alert.  NAPO fought hard to include this binding language in the Appropriations report, which will allow us to continue to advance the issue, as we pursue the passage of the bill. 

  • Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program:  The Committee recommended $376,000,000 for Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (Byrne-JAG).

  • Bulletproof Vests:  The Committee recommended $23,000,000 for bulletproof vests.  Within the $23,000,000 provided for bulletproof vests, $1,500,000 is to be transferred directly to the NIST Office of Law Enforcement Standards (OLES) to continue supporting ballistic- and stab-resistant material compliance testing programs.

  • Victims of Child Abuse Act:  The Committee’s recommendation provides $19,000,000 for the various programs authorized under the Victims of Child Abuse Act (VOCA).

  • Public Safety Officers’ Benefits:  The Committee’s recommendation provides $87,300,000 for public safety officers’ benefits. The recommendation is $10,000,000 below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and equal to the budget estimate.

  • Second Chance Act/Offender Reentry Programs:  The recommendation provides $70,000,000 for Second Chance Act (SCA) grants.

  • Combating Gun Violence and Enforcing Gun Laws:  The Committee’s recommendation provides a total of $1,150,613,000, an increase of $38,513,000 above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level, in Federal, State, and local resources in order to reduce gun violence and prevent future tragedies.

During the meeting, Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) told panel members she hopes to bring “a cluster” of spending measures to the floor starting the week of June 16, 2014.   NAPO will continue to advocate for full funding of our top priority programs and keep our members updated on the status of the spending bills. 

If you have any questions about the CJS spending bills, please contact Melissa Nee at:  mnee@napo.org.

NAPO Supports Bill to Establish National EMS Memorial

On June 2, 2014, NAPO pledged our support for Congressman Stephen Lynch’s (D-MA) bill to establish a National EMS Memorial (H.R. 4690).  This bill seeks to authorize the National EMS Memorial Foundation to undertake the effort of designing, siting, and creating a memorial in Washington, D.C., to honor the service and sacrifices of our nation’s emergency medical service providers.

When he introduced the bill, Congressman Lynch stressed: “The men and women of EMS are often our nation’s first line of defense in the prevention and mitigation of risk from terrorist attacks, man-made incidents, and natural disasters, putting their lives on the line every day in order to provide critical care for their patients. Over 600 men and women of our nation’s emergency medical services have made the ultimate sacrifice while performing their duties. This memorial is long overdue. I am proud to introduce this legislation to ensure that these men and women, their families and their loved ones are recognized for their ultimate sacrifice and to honor the hard work and dedication of all EMS providers nationwide.”

NAPO fully supports this important effort to honor the service and sacrifices of our nation’s emergency medical service providers, who put themselves in harm’s way to provide critical care.  These first responders work tirelessly to save lives every day and often go unrecognized as they perform their duties. 

NAPO has sent a letter of support for this legislation to Congressman Lynch and looks forward to working with the Congressman and his staff to pass this important bill.  The letter can be viewed at the following site:  http://www.napo.org/files/1314/0234/0227/NAPO_Supports_Congressman_Lynchs_EMS_Memorial_Bill_Final_4.pdf.

If you have any questions about this bill, please contact Melissa Nee at:  mnee@napo.org. 

NAPO Supports the Equity in Law Enforcement Act

On June 2, 2014, NAPO pledged our support for the Equity in Law Enforcement Act (S.2441), sponsored by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI).  This bill would extend the same Federal benefits to law enforcement officers serving private institutions of higher education that apply to law enforcement officers serving units of State and local government.  This legislation would make these individuals eligible for the same benefits provided to public law enforcement officers, including line-of-duty death benefits under the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program and bulletproof vest partnership grants through the Department of Justice.  The bill would only apply to officers who are sworn, licensed, or certified to enforce the law within their jurisdiction. 

This bill honors the memory of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, who was murdered on the evening of April 18, 2013 by those responsible for the tragic bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  The change would be retroactive to April 15, 2013 – the day of the bombings.  This legislation will ensure that Officer Collier’s family and future survivors are protected.

NAPO had lengthy discussions with Senator Reed’s staff before the bill was introduced.  Senator Reed recognized NAPO as a supporter of the legislation during his floor speech.  NAPO believes this bill is essential to the law enforcement community, and looks forward to working with Senator Reed and his staff to ensure the passage of this important bill. 

If you have any questions about this bill, please contact Melissa Nee at:  mnee@napo.org.

NAPO Meetings on Capitol Hill – Senators Flake and Reed 

Over the past week, NAPO met with senior staffers for Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Senator Jack Reed (D-RI).  In addition to discussing the Law Enforcement Equity Act with Senator Reed’s staff, NAPO took the opportunity to discuss the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act with both staffers.  NAPO explained that this bill 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. It also 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. An amended version of the bill passed the House of Representatives on May 20, 2014, and we are hopeful that it will be reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee in the coming months.

NAPO also expressed appreciation to Senator Reed’s staff for the Senator’s support of the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act (JMHCA) and took the opportunity to brief Senator Flake’s staff on the JMHCA.  NAPO explained that 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 those, and dealing with citizens with mental health issues.  Senator Flake’s staff was receptive to our proposal, and we look forward to working with the Senator’s staff as they review the bill.

Finally, NAPO briefed Senator Reed’s staff on the 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. 

We appreciated the opportunity to meet with both of the staffers and look forward to working with them in the future.

NAPO Meeting on Capitol Hill – Congressman Enyart 

On June 6, 2014, NAPO met with Congressman William Enyart’s (D-IL) staff to discuss our top priorities.  In addition to providing information on the COPS Improvement and Reauthorization Act and the JMHCA, NAPO provided details on the 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, and is hopeful that the Congressman will consider cosponsoring the bill.

NAPO also briefed the Congressman’s staff on the Officer Sean Collier Campus Police Recognition Act, which amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 by adding campus police officers to the Department of Justice’s Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program.  This bill defines a “campus police officer” as a police officer who is authorized to enforce the criminal laws and is employed by an institution of higher education.  

Congressman Enyart’s staff was very receptive to our proposals and we look forward to working with the Congressman in the future.

TOP COPS® Continue to be Recognized for Outstanding Service 

NAPO was proud to honor outstanding officers from across the country during the 21st Annual TOP COPS Awards® Ceremony.  These 53 heroes continue to be recognized for their achievements.  Most recently, George Mason University Professor Karen Bune recognized their courage and used these brave men and women as extraordinary examples of law enforcement work.  We hope you will take a moment to read Professor Bune’s article, which can be found at the following link:  http://www.policeone.com/officer-shootings/articles/7264458-10-lessons-from-53-Top-Cop-Award-winners/.

 

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