National Update

19 Apr 2013 11:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
Washington Watch: Legislative Update
For the Week of 15 April 2013

I. Legislative News and Activity
II. This Week in Congress
III. Update on Top Legislative Priorities
IV. Federal Officers' Potentially Affected by Sequestration
V. FOP Teams Up with National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

This has been an incredibly difficult week for our country. We saw an act of terror in Boston that took the lives of innocents and wounded more than a hundred, yet we saw saw acts of courage and hope from the law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel and from our fellow citizens who responded to the pleas and cries for help on the sidewalks of Boyleston Street.

In the hunt to capture the men suspected of perpetrating this horrific act, Officer Sean Collier of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Police Department was killed in the line of duty and Richard Donohue of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Police was severely wounded. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families of the incident and for the safety of the men and women in law enforcement as they pursue the remaining suspect.

In Texas, an accidental explosion has left an unknown number of dead and wounded, including a constable and several firefighters who initially responded to the scene. My thoughts and prayers are with these families as well.

In times of grief and tragedy, we must take comfort and draw strength from our families and communities. The FOP brotherhood and our extended law enforcement family will pull together and get through these difficult times. And we will do it together.

Senior Legislative Liaison Tim Richardson attended a briefing hosted by Joshua A. Ederheimer, Acting Direcor of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) in the U.S. Department of Justice regarding the grant solicitations for this year and the FY14 budget request.

Senior Legislative Liaison Richardson spoke with John F. Awtrey, Director of the Office of Law Enforcement Policy and Support in the U.S. Department of Defense, about legislation allowing the Secretary of Defense to grant statutory arrest authority to civilian law enforcement officers employed by the Department and other issues.

Senior Legislative Liaison Richardson and PAC Director/Legislative Liaison Grace Lynch met with Douglas A. Wain, Executive Director of Win The War! Against Violence, about crime and violence issues.

Staff from the National Legislative Office attended a briefing on justice reinvestment, which featured panelists with knowledge of the on-the-ground experience in Delaware and Kentucky with the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI). This program aims to increase public safety, hold offenders accountable, and control corrections costs by tasking States and localities with collecting and analyzing data on all aspects of the criminal justice system.

Both the House and the Senate were in session this week.

Action in the House
The House considered, amended and passed three cyber security bills this week:
  • H.R. 756, the "Cybersecurity Enhancement Act," on a 402-16 vote;
  • H.R. 967, the "Advancing America's Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act," on a 406-11 vote; and
  • H.R. 1163, the "Federal Information Security Amendments Act," on a 416-16 vote.
All three bills will now be transmitted to the Senate for further action.

Action in House Committees
The Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing entitled the "Mismanagement at the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

The Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee on Appropriations held a hearing on the U.S. Department of Justice at which U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. gave testimony.

Action in the Senate
The Senate debated S. 649, the "Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act," and held votes on the following amendments, all of which required 60 votes to be adopted:
  • S. Amdt. 711, which would have banned certain types of firearms described as "assault weapons," was defeated on a 40-60 vote;
  • S. Amdt. 713, which would have provided penalties to deter straw purchases and trafficking in firearms, was defeated on a 58-42 vote;
  • S. Amdt. 714, which would have prohibited the manufacture, possession or sale of magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition was defeated on a 46-54 vote;
  • S. Amdt. 715, which would have expanded Federal background checks to include firearms purchased online and at gun shows, was defeated on a 54-46 vote;
  • S. Amdt. 717, which would penalize law enforcement agencies by withholding Federal funding if local or State governments released certain information on law-abiding gun owners, was passed on a 67-30 vote;
  • S. Amdt. 719, which would have provided reciprocity between States that issue concealed carry permits, was defeated on a 57-43 vote;
  • S. Amdt. 720, which would have prevent mentally incapacitated veterans from having a Federal firearms disability unless a court finds the individual poses a danger to himself or others, was defeated on a 56-44 vote;
  • S. Amdt. 725, an amendment in the nature of a substitute which provided grants to improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database, prohibit straw purchases, trafficking, and mental health records, was defeated on a 52-48 vote;
  • S. Amdt. 730, which would establish and reauthorize various programs to identify and provide services and support to the mentally ill, was adopted on a 95-2 vote.
The Senate then set aside further action on S. 649.

Action in Senate Committees
The Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing on the nomination of Thomas A. Perez, current Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division in the U.S. Department of Justice, to be the next Secretary of Labor.

The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a hearing on the Administration's FY14 budget request.


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

Support H.R. 1362, the "Law Enforcement Officers Equity Act"
We added one cosponsor to H.R. 1362, bringing our total to 11.

IV. Federal Officers' Potentially Affected by Sequestration
Over the last few months, political squabbling over the sequester and budget cuts have caused great concern for law enforcement at all levels of government. While the FOP has been working against these reductions, Washington politicians have resigned themselves to allowing these harsh across-the-board cuts to all departments, even departments that have seen significant budget reductions over the last several years. The FOP is keenly aware of the potentially devastating results these continued cuts will have and we are deeply troubled by the impact they will have on all law enforcement officers as well as public safety. These cuts will hurt all of us and the public we are sworn to protect.

Federal officers, please know that, during this crisis, the National Fraternal Order of Police is working with your Federal Officers Committee to ensure your voice is heard on Capitol Hill. We will do all we can to mitigate any negative effects while continuing to support you. We have dedicated ourselves to working for you and we have made the resources of our National Legislative Office available to your Federal Officers Committee. We are committed to ensuring your loyal and hard work does not go unnoticed or fall further victim to political bargaining.

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