Washington Watch: Legislative Update

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Washington Watch: Legislative Update

2017-07-21T18:27:47+00:00July 22nd, 2017|From the Grand Lodge, Legislation|Comments Off on Washington Watch: Legislative Update

Washington Watch: Legislative Update
For the Week of 10 Jul 2017

I.     Legislative News and Activity  

II.   This Week in Congress

III.  Update on Top Legislative Priorities

IV.  FOP Joins AG Sessions for Announcement on Asset Forfeiture

V.  FOP Call to Action on Asset Forfeiture

VI.  Follow the FOP on Twitter!


      

I.                   LEGISLATIVE NEWS AND ACTIVITY

National President Chuck Canterbury:

  • Participated in the quarterly meeting of the Board of Trustees of the National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial Fund Foundation.

Senior Advisor Jim Pasco:

  • Spoke with Spoke with Danielle Cutrona, Senior Counsel to the U.S. Attorney General, regarding pending appointments at the U.S. Department of Justice and the ongoing relationship with the Department’s leaders.
  • Spoke with liaison personnel within U.S. Department of Homeland Security in order to develop better communications leadership at the Department.

National Legislative Liaison Committee Chairman Rick Fulginiti:

  • Attended and spoke at an event with U.S. Attorney General Jefferson B. Sessions III at the U.S. Department of Justice.  The Attorney General announced the restoration and expansion of the civil asset forfeiture program (See Item IV. For more details.

Senior Legislative Liaison Tim Richardson and Legislation Liaison Mike Martin:

  • Met with staff in the office of Representative F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI) to discuss the appropriations for State and local law enforcement assistance programs.
  • Met with Aaron Cummings, the new counsel to the Senate Judiciary Chairman, Senator Charles E. Grassley, to familiarize him with FOP priorities.
  • Participated in a conference call hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice to receive a briefing on the announcement of the restoration and expansion of the civil asset forfeiture program.

Legislative Liaison Martin:

  • Met with staff in the offices of William B. Hurd (R-TX) and William J. Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) to discuss existing programs for training law enforcement officers confronting calls for service involving the mentally ill and other issues related to call of this kind.

 

II.     THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS
The House and Senate returned to session this week.

Action in the House

The House considered and passed H.R. 2825, the “Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act,” under a suspension of the rules on a 386-41 vote.

Action in House Committees

The Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing entitled: “Gangs in Our Communities: Drugs, Human Trafficking, and Violence.”

 

Action in the Senate

The Senate considered and confirmed three Presidential nominations.

Action in Senate Committees

The Committee on the Judiciary considered and favorably reported the nomination of Christopher A. Wray to be the next Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on a unanimous 20- vote.  The FOP supported his nomination, which will now go to the Senate floor.

The Committee on the Judiciary also considered and favorably reported Beth Ann Williams to be the next Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy on a voice vote.  Her nomination also goes to the Senate floor for further consideration.

 

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 144 cosponsors on H.R. 1205.

We have 8 cosponsors on S. 915.

B.  Support the H.R. 964/S. 424, the “Law Enforcement Officers’ Equity Act”
We added four cosponsors to H.R. 964, bringing our current total to 21.

We have 3 cosponsors on S. 424.

 

IV.         FOP Joins AG Sessions for Asset Forfeiture Announcement

Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, welcomed news that U.S. Attorney General Jefferson B. Sessions III was restoring and expanding the Federal asset forfeiture program.

“This is a vital tool for law enforcement, especially for those State and local agencies who use the equitable sharing program to allow them to reinvest resources to fight crime in their communities,” Canterbury said.

Rick Fulginiti, Chairman of the National Legislative Committee of the FOP, joined the Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice for the announcement.  The new directive will standardize the process for Federal adoption of cases and include greater transparency.

“This Attorney General and this Administration have prioritized Federal efforts to combat transnational criminal organizations—cartels, gangs and traffickers,” Canterbury said.  “By restoring the asset forfeiture program and streamlining the ability of State and local agencies to participate in the equitable sharing program, we can make a great deal of progress against these illegal operations, take away the profits of their unlawful activity and put it back into our neighborhoods and communities.”

 

V.            FOP Call to Action on Asset Forfeiture

TO:         State Lodge Presidents

DATE:    20 July 2017                                                                                                            

RE:          Call to Action for FOP Members

Don’t let the media or politicians misrepresent the asset forfeiture program

Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, called on FOP members to speak out in local media in support of yesterday’s announcement by U.S. Attorney General Jefferson B. Sessions III that the Federal asset forfeiture program would be restored and expanded.

This is a vital tool for law enforcement, especially for those State and local agencies who use the equitable sharing program to allow them to reinvest resources to fight crime in their communities.  Unfortunately, there has been a flood of poorly researched media stories attacking the program written by folks who don’t seem to understand it actually works.  Our members in every State should make sure their local media outlets know the truth—this program helps communities and makes them safer.

The program will enable law enforcement to target criminal organizations—cartels, gangs and traffickers by seizing their profits from unlawful activity.  This enables law enforcement to weaken the power and reach of these organizations, preventing future crimes.  Civil asset forfeiture helps victims of crime and can provide material support to law enforcement for things like bullet-resistant vests, opioid overdose rescue kits and improved training.  The seizures also get drugs, illegal firearms, ammunition and explosives off the streets.

Some politicians have, or will, also come out swinging against the program.  These politicians need to hear from us on this issue.  The new policies create several new protections for innocent property owners, increased oversight and greater transparency.  This program has a long history in law enforcement of success and these elected Chicken Littles need to hear from us that the sky is not falling. It is an important tool and we’re pleased to have it restored and rejuvenated in this Administration.

 

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

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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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