NAPO Victory! Congress Passes Recovering Missing Children Act; Senate Passes Justice for All Reauthorization Act and Rapid DNA Act; New Public Pension Requirements Excluded from Puerto Rico Assistance Bill; Senate Debates Gun Amendments to CJS Spending Bill; Join NAPO for Our 38th Annual ConventionJune 28, 2016
NAPO Victory! Congress Passes Recovering
Missing Children Act
In a victory for NAPO, Congress passed the Recovering Missing Children Act on June 16th. NAPO expended every possible effort to see this bill passed into law and Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) thanked NAPO for our support on the Senate floor during consideration of the bill.
The Recovering Missing Children Act amends current law to add the case of a missing child to the list of exceptions that allow the IRS to release tax return information to law enforcement, giving investigators a vital tool to aid in the swift recovery of missing children.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that more than 200,000 children are abducted by their parents or other close relatives every year. According to findings from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, however, new addresses for these missing children can be identified as often as 46 percent of the time through analysis of taxes subsequently filed using either the suspected perpetrator’s or the missing child’s Social Security Number. Unfortunately, despite the value that this evidence would have in combating child abductions, the IRS is currently constrained from providing the relevant tax information to law enforcement.
The Recovering Missing Children Act solves this problem. Given the sensitivity of taxpayer data, the bill limits the disclosure of relevant tax information solely to those law enforcement officers who are engaged in the recovery of a missing child or the subsequent investigation and prosecution of the alleged abductor. As a result, we believe this legislation strikes the proper balance between protecting taxpayer privacy and facilitating the ability of law enforcement to reunite missing children with their families.
NAPO thanks Senators Casey and Enzi and Representative Erik Paulsen (R-MN) for their leadership on this issue. We look forward to the President signing it into law. If you have any questions, please contact Andy Edmiston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senate Passes Justice for All Reauthorization Act
and Rapid DNA Act
In another victory for NAPO, the Senate passed two NAPO-endorsed bills - the Justice for All Reauthorization Act (JFAA) of 2016 (S. 2577) and the Rapid DNA Act (S. 2348) – by unanimous consent on June 16th. The JFAA, sponsored by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) reauthorizes the bipartisan Justice for All Act of 2004, which increased resources devoted to DNA and other forensic technology, established safeguards to prevent wrongful convictions, and enhanced protections for crime victims. The bill also improves services for crime victims and provides support to state and local governments to use DNA evidence to convict guilty offenders and exonerate the innocent. NAPO supported the original Justice for All Act in 2004 and we are proud to support its reauthorization.
The Rapid DNA Act, sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), would give law enforcement agencies greater ability to use technology to process DNA evidence in the field. Science and technology has allowed state and local law enforcement to use DNA evidence to convict guilty offenders and exonerate the innocent. However, the processing of DNA evidence under current law can take weeks or even months due to backlogs at crime labs. This significantly delays a perpetrator being brought to justice or an innocent victim being safe-guarded from further harm. Rapid DNA technologies allow an officer to know within hours whether an individual is wanted for an outstanding crime or has a connection to evidence from a crime scene. This bill would ensure that law enforcement agencies that use rapid DNA technology can access the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) in the field, rather than having to go through an accredited crime lab.
NAPO thanks Senators Cornyn, Leahy and Hatch for their continued support for the law enforcement community. We now look to move these important bills through the House. If you have any questions about the JFAA or the Rapid DNA Act, please contact Andy Edmiston at email@example.com.
New Public Pension Requirements Excluded
from Puerto Rico Assistance Bill
In a victory for NAPO, a bill imposing new public pension requirements that NAPO opposes was excluded from the Puerto Rico Assistance package passed by the House on June 9th. There had been growing momentum for the Public Employee Pension Transparency Act (PEPTA) to be included as part of an aid package to address the financial and economic crisis in Puerto Rico. However, due to the work of NAPO and our partners in the Public Pension Network, the Puerto Rico Assistance bill only includes a PEPTA provision that is applicable to Puerto Rico’s retirement system alone, not to all public pension plans.
NAPO and other public sector organizations expressed to members of Congress our strong opposition to the public pension requirements contained in PEPTA as they do not protect benefits, save costs or improve retirement system funding. They are unfunded mandates and an inappropriate federal intrusion into areas that are the fiscal responsibility of sovereign States and local governments, and are conflicting, administratively burdensome and costly. Further, it threatens to eliminate the tax-exempt bonding authority of state and local governments.
PEPTA not only violates the principles of federalism, but represents a fundamental lack of understanding regarding state and local government operations and financing, including governmental accounting rules and strict legal constraints already in place that require open financial reporting and processes. It also ignores the fact that every state and countless localities have recently made modifications to pension financing, benefits structures, or both.
The Puerto Rico Assistance package now moves to the Senate, where it is expected to be voted on before July 1st in an attempt to complete action before Puerto Rico's next big payment on its debt..
If you have any questions please contact Andy Edmiston at firstname.lastname@example.org or Bill Johnson at email@example.com.
Senate Debates Gun Amendments to CJS Spending Bill
In response to the June 12th terrorist attack in Orlando, the Senate took up four gun-related amendments to the fiscal 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations measure. On June 20th, the Senate debated and then rejected four amendments that would ban gun sales from persons on terror watch lists and close the gun show loophole. On June 23rd, the Senate took up a compromise amendment that focused on banning gun purchases for individuals on the no-fly list.
The first amendment, offered by Senator Dianne Feinsten (D-CA), would have allowed the Attorney General to block gun sales to the estimated 1 million people on the no-fly list and the selectee list, which is a list of people who are allowed to fly but must receive additional screening before boarding a plan, as well as those on broader terrorist watch lists.
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) offered the Republican alternative to Senator Feinstein’s proposal. His amendment would close the so-called terrorist loophole by allowing a United States attorney to block the sale of a gun if he or she can show probable cause that the buyer is engaged in terrorism. Both the Feinstein and Cornyn amendments included language that would require authorities to be alerted if anyone on a terror watch list in the past five years tried to purchase a gun.
The third amendment debated by the Senate was offered by Senator Christopher Murphy (D-CT). It would have expanded the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) by requiring a boost in how records are shared for indentifying anyone who should be banned from purchasing guns and require a background check for every gun sale, including those made on the internet and at gun shows.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) offered an amendment that would have boosted funding for NICS and require that law enforcement be notified if someone investigated for terrorism over the past five years tries to buy a gun.
Given that all four of these amendments failed to pass along party lines, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) crafted a bipartisan amendment that would:
• Ban the sale of guns to the estimated 109,000 people on the no-fly list and the selectee list;
• Allow American citizens and green card holders who are denied a gun purchase a chance to appeal the denial in federal court and get attorney fees if they prevail;
• Allow the court to keep some information classified, to help alleviate law enforcement fears that appeals could blow up terrorist investigations; and
• Notify the FBI if anyone whose name has been in a larger terrorism database within the past five years tries to purchase a gun.
Senator Collin’s amendment is still pending but lacks the 60 votes necessary to advance. There are currently 52 Senators who support her compromise amendment. It seems as if the Senate will table the CJS Appropriations measure altogether until a plan is figured out on how to move forward on Senator Collin’s amendment.
Upping the ante, House Democrats staged a 24 hour sit-in on the House floor on June 22nd calling for action on gun reform legislation, forcing the House to adjourn early for July 4th recess. House leadership has vowed not to take up any gun-related legislation and refused to give in to the Democrats’ demonstration on the House floor.
NAPO will continue to monitor any proposed changes to our nation’s gun laws and keep our members up to date. If you have any questions about the proposals mentioned, please contact Andy Edmiston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Ruger, Todd and Green, Alisha. (June 20, 2016) “Five Things to Watch as Gun Debate Drives Spending Bill.” CQ Roll Call. http://www.cq.com/alertmatch/306156825?10
Join NAPO for Our 38th Annual Convention!
Please join NAPO for our 38th Annual Convention July 23- July 27, 2016, in Palm Beach Florida. Participate in setting NAPO’s legislative priorities for the second half of the 114th Congress and issuing NAPO’s endorsements for the President and Vice President of the United States. Learn from presentations by prominent law enforcement figures about the latest developments in police policies and services.
When not attending NAPO business sessions, Palm Beach offers something for everyone. Soak up sunshine on pristine beaches, shop trendy Worth Avenue or explore the Flager Museum. Enjoy the afternoon at the famous Eau Spa or relax poolside at one of the beautiful Eau Resort pools. Looking for a little more adventure? The Eau Resort offers a host of recreational activities from catamarans, water skiing and waverunners to bike rentals. Whether you seek adventure or relaxation you will find it at this year’s convention in Palm Beach, Florida.
Please complete the registration form and mail it with payment to the NAPO office or fax it to the NAPO office at (703) 684-0515. Be sure to register by July 5th! Registrations received on or after July 6th will be charged a late registration fee of $50. Registration fees include the cost of convention materials, special events, food, and functions. Only individuals registered may attend convention events. Spouses, guests, and children must register if they wish to attend any convention events.
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.