Washington Watch: Legislative Update
For the Week of 1 January 2018
I. Legislative News and Activity
II. This Week in Congress
III. Update on Top Legislative Priorities
IV FOP Press Release: 271 Officers Shot in 2017; Renews Call for Hate Crime Legislation
V. FOP Press Release: FOP Applauds Cole Memo Revocation
VI. REMINDER: Day on the Hill is February 12-14.
VII. Follow the FOP on Twitter!
I. LEGISLATIVE NEWS AND ACTIVITY
Senior Advisor to the National President, Jim Pasco:
- Spoke with Steve H. Cook, Associate Deputy Attorney General, regarding the revocation of the Cole Memorandum and asset forfeiture issues;
- Spoke with Danielle Cutrona, Counsel to U.S. Attorney General Jefferson B. Sessions III, regarding marijuana and civil rights issues;
- Spoke with Patrick Hovakimian, Office of Associate Attorney General, regarding current consent decrees and Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs);
- Spoke with Jon Adler, Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, regarding the Office of Justice Programs and other Department of Justice issues;
Senior Legislative Liaison Tim Richardson and Legislative Liaison Scott Marks represented the FOP at a meeting hosted by the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section of the U.S. Department of Justice and were briefed on the current status of the asset forfeiture and pending legislation. II. THIS WEEK IN CONGRESSThe House was not in session. The Senate met briefly, holding only one vote on a presidential nominee. Both chambers return to session next week.
III. UPDATE ON TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES
For 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 169 cosponsors on H.R 1205.
We have 15 cosponsors on S. 915.
B. Support the H.R. 964/S. 424, the “Law Enforcement Officers’ Equity Act”
We have 32 cosponsors on H.R. 964.We have 4 cosponsors on S. 424.
IV. FOP Press Release: 271 Officers Shot in 2017; Renews Call for Hate Crime Legislation
Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, welcomed news that 2017 ended with the second lowest number of law enforcement officer fatalities in more than 50 years. Overall there was a 10% decrease of officers killed in the line of duty, most notably 45 who were shot and killed in 2017 compared to 66 the year before. While this is a welcomed reduction it does not tell the whole story.
“Last year saw the second fewest line of duty deaths in the last 50 years, but our officers are being killed or wounded by gunfire at a higher rate than before,” stated Canterbury. “In 2016, 253 officers were shot in the line of duty and 66 made the ultimate sacrifice. This past year we had 271 officers shot in the line of duty and 45 who made the ultimate sacrifice. This is unacceptable to the men and women of law enforcement.”
The threats law enforcement faces every day by people with hatred and animus toward our police officers was highlighted by the New Years Eve ambush that wounded 4 officers and killed another in Colorado. This is why the Fraternal Order of Police is calling on Congress to make it a Federal offense to deliberately target law enforcement officers with violence.
“Our members are increasingly under fire by individuals motivated by nothing more than a desire to kill or injure a cop. Enough is enough!” declared Canterbury. “Now Americans who choose to be law enforcement officers, who choose to serve their communities and put their lives on the line for fellow citizens, find themselves hunted and targeted just because of the uniform that they wear. This has to stop.”
In October 2015, the Department of Justice released their “Ambushes of Police” report that detailed the number of ambush attacks on law enforcement officers from 1990-2013. In 2013, there were between 200-300 ambush attacks reported on law enforcement officers. The Executive Summary of the report states, “…the proportion of fatal attacks on officers attributable to ambushes increasing. Concerns about targeted violence against police are on the rise, while officers must not only be guardians of the public but also be prepared to respond to violence targeting them [sic].”
V. FOP Press Release: FOP Press Release- FOP Applauds Cole Memo Revocation
Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, applauded today’s announcement by Attorney General Jefferson B. Sessions III that the U.S. Department of Justice was rescinding the Cole Memo and restoring discretion to our nation’s U.S. Attorneys on investigations into violations of Federal drug laws involving marijuana.
The Cole Memo, issued in 2013 in response to several States removing criminal penalties for the use and possession of marijuana, allowed for the creation of a “pot industry” and created a veneer of legitimacy to violations of Federal law, which prohibits the use, possession and production of this dangerous drug.
“From 1996, when he was elected to the Senate, to today as our nation’s ‘top cop,’ Attorney General Sessions has been a key law enforcement ally and supporter of the rule of law,” said Canterbury. “Like our members, he is also a strong proponent of Federal enforcement of our nation’s narcotics laws. This experiment of giving cover to drug dealers has had fatal consequences. When marijuana was ‘legalized’ in Colorado, traffic-related deaths due to marijuana rose from 13% to 20%. This is costing people their lives.”
The Attorney General’s announcement is good news for public safety and public health. There will be no Federal agents chasing individual users—but it will give law enforcement the discretion it lost when the Cole Memo was issued.
“As our nation celebrated the New Year, many of us caught live coverage of drug use on CNN, a violation of Federal law and a dangerous contribution to normalizing drug abuse,” said Canterbury. “Our members don’t make law or policy—we enforce it. If our citizens want to change the existing law, they should do so. As law enforcement officers, we cannot pick and choose what laws will be enforced.”
VI. REMINDER: FOP Day on the Hill is February 12-14
The FOP’s Day on the Hill event is a key component of our legislative advocacy strategy and our Grassroots Action Network. Having our members here on Capitol Hill, sitting down with their elected Senators and Representatives has a real and lasting impact on the FOP’s ability to move its agenda through Congress. We are coming off of a very successful First Session, but we need to continue to build on that success and we can’t do that without YOU!
Your participation is critical, and while we look forward to seeing old friends and our Day on the Hill veterans, this year we also want to see some new faces. We are challenging our members who do attend to bring along a lodge member who hasn’t yet participated in this event. By increasing the number of officers that lawmakers hear from, the greater effectiveness we will have as an organization. Talk about Day on the Hill in your lodge meetings and help us help you by increasing our participation.
We need Congress focused on OUR issues and OUR safety. We need you to help make sure our voice is heard and we need more voices!
This year’s Day on the Hill will begin on Monday, 12 February 2018. The National Legislative Office and the National Legislative Committee will host a short briefing on our legislative agenda. The briefing will take place on Monday afternoon at D.C. Lodge #1 and last approximately one hour. Tuesday and Wednesday, 13-14 February, will be devoted to your meetings with Members from your home States and districts. These appointments should be made in advance!!! Event participants should make every effort to have their Representative or Senator attend the meeting along with the appropriate staff person.Accommodations for Day on the Hill ParticipantsThe National Legislative Office is fortunate to have secured a room block at the Hyatt House, a brand new hotel on the Washington, D.C. waterfront just three blocks south of the National Mall. The room rate is $149 per night. Members must call 202-554-1234 and identify themselves as being part of the FOP National Legislative Group to get this reduced rate. Members can also go to this website to make their reservations: https://washingtondcthewharf.house.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html?corp_id=G-FOPN
THE CUT OFF DATE IS 27 JANUARY 2018, SO MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS NOW!!!
VI. Follow the FOP on Twitter!
Sign up today for the latest news from Capitol Hill: https://twitter.com/GLFOP
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