Washington Watch: Legislative Update

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Washington Watch: Legislative Update

2017-01-27T20:50:53+00:00 January 29th, 2017|From the Grand Lodge, Legislation|Comments Off on Washington Watch: Legislative Update

Washington Watch: Legislative Update
For the Week of 23 January 2017

I.      Legislative News and Activity
II.    This Week in Congress
III.   Update on Top Legislative Priorities
IV.  FOP NEWS: FOP Welcomes Action  onSanctuary Cities
V.  Follow the FOP National Legislative Office on Twitter!

I.      LEGISLATIVE NEWS AND ACTIVITY
National President Chuck Canterbury and Executive Director Jim Pasco responded to numerous requests from media outlets to talk about the FOP’s position on sanctuary cities and border security issues.

Executive Director Pasco spoke to Brian Benczkowski, a key member of the Trump Administration’s transition team for the U.S. Department of Justice, to discuss the filling of other positions in the Department.

Executive Director Pasco had numerous conversations with members of the transition teams as they wrap up their work as well as with appointees and interim appointees at the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.

Senior Legislative Liaison Tim Richardson and Legislative Liaison Marisa Beam met with staff in the office of Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-NY) to discuss resources for State and local law enforcement agencies.

Senior Legislative Liaison Richardson and Legislative Liaison Mike Martin met with staff in the offices of Representatives William J. Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) and David G. Reichert (R-WA) to talk about the FOP’s hate crimes proposal.

Senior Legislative Liaison Richardson and Legislative Liaison Martin met with the majority staff of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, to discuss FOP priorities for this Congress.

Senior Legislative Liaison Richardson and Legislative Liaison Martin met with staff in the office of Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) to discuss the “Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act.”

Senior Legislative Liaison Richardson and Legislative Liaison Martin met with staff in the office of Senator Thomas R. Tillis (R-NC) to discuss the FOP’s hate crimes proposals and other issues pending before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

Legislative Liaison Martin met with staff in the office of Eric M. Swalwell, Jr. (D-CA) to discuss FOP priorities for this Congress.

II.     THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS
The House and Senate were both in session this week, but recessed early to allow for the Republican retreat in Philadelphia.

Executive Actions
President Donald J. Trump, Sr. signed numerous Executive Orders and Presidential Memorandums in his first days in office.  Among them:

  • Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Hiring Freeze: the President directed the heads of executive departments and agencies to freeze all hiring of new Federal personnel with the exception of the military, public safety and national security.
  • Executive Order on Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States: sets forth Administration policy on immigration enforcement and other priorities (see Item IV. below for further information).

Action in the House
The House considered and passed H.R. 582, “Kari’s Law,” under a suspension fo the rules on a 408-0 vote.  The bill, which would require multi-line telephone systems to have a configuration that permits users to directly initiate a call to 9–1–1 without dialing any additional digit or code, now goes to the House for further action.

Action in the Senate
The Senate considered and confirmed the nomination of Michael R. Pompeo to be the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency on a 66-32 vote and the nomination of Nimrata Haley to be the next U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations on a 96-4 vote.

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 the “Social Security Fairness Act”
This legislation has not yet been reintroduced..

B.  Support the “Law Enforcement Officers’ Equity Act”
This legislation has not yet been reintroduced.

IV.      FOP NEWS: FOP Welcomes Action on Sanctuary Cities
Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, welcomed news that President Donald J. Trump issued an Executive Order addressing the issue of “sanctuary cities” which refuse to cooperate with Federal law enforcement agencies to enforce Federal laws.

“The FOP has been very vocal on this issue and we’ve been adamant that local and State law enforcement agencies should always seek to cooperate with the Federal colleagues and vice versa,” Canterbury said. “Previous solutions called for an unequivocal end to all Federal grants for recalcitrant jurisdictions and there was a real concern about this approach on the part of the FOP. Instead, today’s order makes the suspension of Federal grants discretionary and we support this balanced approach.”

The FOP opposed several bills in the previous Congress which would have blocked State and local law enforcement grants to sanctuary cities because in most cases these “sanctuary” jurisdictions were established by policymakers at the local level. The FOP argued that it was unfair to penalize the law enforcement agencies serving these jurisdictions for the political decisions of elected officials which prohibited or impeded cooperation with Federal agencies. The Executive Order allows the U.S. Attorney General and Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to make an informed decision about the public safety impact without an automatic suspension from Federal grant programs.

“I think the bottom line here is the Administration agreed with us. We cannot automatically punish those whose sworn duty is to carry out policy, which may compromise the safety of the public,” Canterbury said. “However, we do need to encourage cooperation between all levels of law enforcement to ensure that arbitrary policies do not put a dangerous person back on the streets.”

V.      DAY ON THE HILL 2017!

This year’s Day on the Hill is of particular importance as the 115th Congress is sworn in and a new Administration takes over the operation of the Federal government.  It is imperative that we make our voices heard and work hard to ensure that our issues are considered in the Congress and throughout the Executive branch. Please make an effort to attend if you can–we need you!!!

The FOP Day on the Hill 2017 will begin on Monday, 13 February. The National Legislative Office and the National Legislative Committee will host a short briefing on our legislative agenda. The briefing will take place at 3pm on that Monday afternoon at D.C. Lodge #1 and last approximately one hour.  We look forward to seeing you there.

Tuesday and Wednesday, 14-15 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.

VI.     Follow the FOP National Legislative Office on Twitter!
Sign up today for the latest news from Capitol Hill:  https://twitter.com/FOPLegislative

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John Blackmon

A retired law enforcement officer who now serves as the President of the Fraternal Order of Police Tri-County Lodge #3.
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