Washington Watch: Legislative Update
For the Week of 19 March 2018
I. Legislative News and Activity
II. This Week in Congress
III. Update on Top Legislative Priorities
IV. FOP News and Press:
A. FOP National President Hails Victories for Law Enforcement in Omnibus
B. Omnibus Legislation FOP Supported
V. Support the National FOP PACVI. Follow the FOP on Twitter!
I. LEGISLATIVE NEWS AND ACTIVITY
National President Chuck Canterbury along with Chicago Lodge President Kevin Graham attended a White House round table hosted by President Donald J. Trump regarding sanctuary cities.
Senior Advisor Jim Pasco:
- Coordinated with the White House and the Department of Justice to facilitate National President Canterbury along with Chicago Lodge President Kevin Graham to participate in the White House round table hosted by President Donald J. Trump regarding sanctuary cities;
- Spoke with Steven H. Cook, Associate Deputy Attorney General, regarding possible local prosecutorial misconduct in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;
- Spoke with White House and Department of Justice officials regarding the current vacancy problem in the Administration.
Senior Legislative Liaison Tim Richardson represented the FOP at the “first draft” meeting at the National Fire Protection Association to develop a new standard, “NFPA 3000, Active Shooter/Hostile Events Response.”
Legislative Liaison Michael Martin attended a reception hosted by Senator Robert J. Portman (R-OH) to thank the FOP and other stakeholders for their critical efforts to pass H.R. 1865, the “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act.”
Legislative Liaison Scott Marks attended the monthly luncheon with the FACT Coalition regarding pending corporate transparency legislation.
II. THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS
Action in the HouseThe House considered and passed H.R. 1625, the “TARGET Act,” by a 256-167 vote. This bill will be used as the legislative vehicle for the omnibus appropriations bill to fund the government through 30 September 2018. Also included are many of our legislative priorities such as “Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act,” “Fix NICS Act,” “Child Protection Improvements Act,” and “School, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act.”
Action in House CommitteesThe Committee on Financial Services’ Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance held a hearing titled, “Exploring the Financial Nexus of Terrorism, Drug Trafficking, and Organized Crime.”
The Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations held a hearing titled, “Preventable Violence in America: An Examination of Law Enforcement Information Sharing and Misguided Public Policy.”
Action in the SenateThe Senate considered and passed H.R. 1865, the “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act” on a 97-2 vote. The FOP played a crucial role in its passage.
The Senate considered and passed H.R. 1625, the “TARGET Act” on a 65-32 vote. This bill will be used as the legislative vehicle for the omnibus appropriations bill to fund the government through 30 September 2018. Also included are many of our legislative priorities such as “Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act,” “Fix NICS Act,” “Child Protection Improvements Act,” and “School, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act.”
Action in Senate CommitteesThe Committee on the Judiciary held an hearing titled, “The Need to Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.”
III. UPDATE ON TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIESFor the complete list of cosponsors for all of our top legislative priorities, or to find out if your Representative and Senators are cosponsors of specific bills, check out https://www.congress.gov/
A. Support H.R. 1205/S. 915, the “Social Security Fairness Act”We have 176 cosponsors on H.R. 1205.We have 22 cosponsors on S. 915.
B. Support the H.R. 964/S. 424, the “Law Enforcement Officers’ Equity Act”We have 38 cosponsors on H.R. 964We have 6 cosponsors on S. 424.
C. Support H.R. 4846, the “Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act”Two additional lawmakers have cosponsored H.R. 4846, bringing the total to 31.
IV. FOP News and Press:
A. FOP National President Hails Victories for Law Enforcement in Omnibus
Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, is pleased with the final draft version of the FY18 omnibus appropriations bill, which increased funding across the board for law enforcement grant programs, including the hiring program administered by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). The measure also incorporated four pieces of legislation the FOP has championed.
“We are pleased that this Congress has renewed its commitment to public safety by increasing funding for State and local law enforcement agencies through programs like the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) program and the COPS Office,” stated Canterbury. “We were also able to include four pieces of legislation into the omnibus, two of which the FOP played a critical role in: the ‘Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act’ and the ‘Student, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act.’”
The “Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act” will eliminate the expected family contribution for a child of a fallen public safety officer whom is awarded a Pell grant. The legislation was introduced by Senators Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA) and Patrick J. Toomey (R-PA). It is a meaningful tribute to these fallen law enforcement officers by helping their children receive a more affordable higher education. The FOP fought hard to get this bill included in the spending measure and our support was critical to its inclusion.
“Senator Casey was kind enough to call me personally to thank the FOP for everything we did to support this effort,” Canterbury said. “It’s a bill we have been pushing for many years and we’re pleased that it’s now finally law.”
The “STOP School Violence Act,” authored by Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), reauthorizes and expands the Secure Our Schools program administered by the COPS Office. The House passed a similar bill earlier this month, but the FOP was unable to support it because it stripped the program out of the COPS Office and transferred it to a general program within the Office of Justice Programs (OJP). The FOP was involved in exhaustive negotiations with senior staff in the offices of Senator Hatch, the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader before agreeing to compromise language. The provision maintains the Secure Our Schools program in the COPS Office and establishes the expansion of the program in OJP.
“This agreement would not have been possible without the steadfast leadership of Senators Hatch and especially Senator McConnell,” Canterbury said. “They understand how important the COPS Office is to law enforcement and how important it is that they administer the programs in which they have greater expertise in. These two Senators fought hard for us and we are sincerely grateful to them.”
B. Omnibus Legislation FOP SupportedThe omnibus for FY18 included four pieces of legislation that the FOP not only supported but pushed to be included. They are as follows:
H.R. 949/S.597, the “Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act,” which would eliminate the expected family contribution for a child of a fallen public safety officer for Pell grants.
H.R. 695/S. 705, the “Child Protection Improvements Act,” which would allow organizations that serve children and the elderly to use the FBI database to conduct background checks on potential employees.
S. 2495, the “Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act,” which reauthorizes and expands the Secure Our Schools program.
H.R. 4477/S.2135, the “Fix NICS Act,” which would require all Federal agencies and States to produce NICS implementation plans focused on uploading accurate, required information to the background check system.
Senator Casey thanked the FOP for our efforts in pushing the “Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act” for inclusion into the omnibus language. The Senate version of the “Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act” passed the Senate by unanimous consent in the 114th and 115th Congress. Both times the bill has stalled in the House because of then Chairman Kline and current Chairman Foxx. After numerous meetings with House and Senate leadership and letters to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committee, the bill was included into the omnibus language.
On the “STOP School Violence Act,” the FOP was instrumental in crafting a compromise between H.R. 4909 and S.2495, the “STOP School Violence Act,” which reauthorizes and expands the Secure Our Schools program. The FOP did not support the House bill, which had already passed the House, because it would have stripped the program out of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and moved it into the Office of Justice Programs. The FOP instead backed S. 2495, which was introduced by Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), that would preserve the program in COPS while making the same re-authorization and expansions. The FOP engaged in exhaustive negotiations with senior staff in the offices of the Senate Majority Leader, the Speaker and Senator Hatch to craft a compromise for inclusion into the omnibus appropriations measure. The reauthorized Secure Our Schools program will remain in the COPS office and draw funding from the OJP’s Comprehensive School Safety Initiative. The expansions to the program will be housed in OJP using the same funding source.
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