Washington Watch: Legislative Update

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Washington Watch: Legislative Update

2017-12-03T13:51:01+00:00 December 3rd, 2017|From the Grand Lodge, Legislation|Comments Off on Washington Watch: Legislative Update

Washington Watch: Legislative UpdateFor the Week of 27 November 2017 I.         Legislative News and Activity  

II.       This Week in Congress

III.     Update on Top Legislative Priorities 

IV.  FOP News: Law Enforcement Mental Health Bill Passes House

V. Follow the FOP on Twitter! 

 

I.    LEGISLATIVE NEWS AND ACTIVITY

Senior Advisor to the National President, Jim Pasco:

  • Spoke with Mercedes Schlapp, Director of Strategic Communications, regarding law enforcement vacancies and FOP priorities;
  • Spoke with Jennifer Korn, Special Assistant to the President, regarding upcoming FOP events and communication issues at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security;
  • Spoke with Steve H. Cook, Associate Deputy Attorney, regarding first responder liability issues; and
  • Spoke with leadership at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives (ATF) on the current NICS (National Instant Criminal Check System) and bump stocks regulation.

Senior Legislative Tim Richardson:

  • Represented the FOP at a stakeholder meeting with staff in the office of the Speaker of the House to discuss the tax reform bill and its impact on public pension systems; and
  • Senior Legislative Liaison Richardson represented the FOP at a law enforcement roundtable hosted by the American Trucking Association to discuss areas of mutual concern for law enforcement and the trucking and shipping industry.

Legislative Liaison Mike Martin:

  • Participated in a stakeholder meeting for the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) Working Group;
  • Participated in a stakeholder meeting hosted by the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS);
  • Met with staff in the offices of the Majority Whip, the Committee on Ways and Means and Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT) to discuss the tax reform bill and its impact on public pension systems.

Senior Legislative Liaison Tim Richardson and Legislative Liaison Mike Martin met last week with staff in the offices of Senator Joseph S. Donnelly (D-IN) and Representative Susan W. Brooks (R-IN) to discuss the impending passage of H.R. 2228, the “Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act.”

Senior Legislative Liaison Richardson and Legislative Liaison Scott Marks participated in a stakeholders conference call to discuss pending legislation addressing anti-money laundering efforts and the need to collect beneficial ownership information to combat money laundering and fraud.

 

II.  THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS

Both chambers were in session this week

Action in the HouseThe House considered and passed H.R. 2228, the “Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act,” by voice vote.  The legislation, which the FOP helped craft, now goes to the Senate for further consideration.  (See Item IV. below)

The House considered and passed H.R 4182, the “Ensuring a Qualified Civil Service Act (EQUALS) Act,” on a 213-204 vote.Action in House CommitteesThe Committee on the Judiciary considered and favorably reported H.R. 38, the “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act” on a 19-11 vote.  The measure, on which the FOP did not take a position, now goes to the House floor.

The Committee on the Judiciary considered and favorably reported H.R. 4477, the “Fix NICS Act,” on a 17-6 vote.  The FOP supports this legislation, which now goes to the House floor.

The Committee on the Judiciary considered and favorably reported H.R. 2666, the “AMBER Alert in Indian County Act,” on a voice vote.

Two Subcommittees of the Committee on Financial Services, the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit and the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance,  held a joint hearing entitled: “Legislative Proposals to Counter Terrorism and Illicit Finance.”

 

Action in Senate The Senate approved the motion to proceed to the consideration of H.R. 1, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” on a 52-48 vote.  This vote triggered the consideration of additional amendments to the underlying bill. Voting is expected to stretch into the night and possibly over the weekend or into next week.  If the bill passes, it will be reconciled by a House-Senate conference committee.

 

Action in Senate CommitteesThe Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing on S. 1241, “Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Counterfeiting Act,” entitled: “Modernizing AML Laws to Combat Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing.”  The FOP supports S. 1241.

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”Three additional lawmakers have co-sponsored H.R. 1205. We have 164 cosponsors.

We have 9 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.

 

V.  FOP News:  Law Enforcement  Mental Health Bill Passes HouseChuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, was proud to announce that the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2228, the “Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act” under suspension of the rules by voice vote. The bill was sponsored by Representatives Susan W. Brooks (R-IN) and Valdez V. Demings (D-FL).

“This bill came to be when Senators Joe Donnelly and Todd Young reached out to us to see what more could be done to help law enforcement officers struggling to cope with the stresses of their profession,” Canterbury explained. “We worked with them to craft a bill, S. 867, which, with their help, passed the Senate earlier this year. We’re also grateful to Representatives Brooks and Demings who worked so closely with us to get the bill through the House today.”

The House companion measure cleared the Judiciary Committee in October. The FOP led an effort to defeat a harmful, last-minute amendment pushed by the National Sheriffs’ Association, which opposed the bill as introduced.

“Our officers wear protective clothing and other equipment to keep themselves safe from physical harm, but these officers also face challenges to their mental health and well-being.  Unlike many other professions, sometimes you can’t leave the job at the office and we need to do a better job of supporting our officers and their mental health,” Canterbury said.

The legislation directs the U.S. Attorney General to identify existing mental health and wellness programs administered by the Federal government including those in the U.S. Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs. This information will then be compiled into a report to Congress which will contain best practices and model policies which could be adopted by State, local and tribal law enforcement agencies in an effort to improve their own mental health services for their officers.  The bill would also authorize the establishment of pilot peer mentoring programs and review existing crisis hotlines for law enforcement officers.

“The FOP has been a leader on mental wellness for law enforcement officers and we believe we can provide better support for the men and women behind the badge,” Canterbury said. “We are proud to support the ‘Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act’ and look forward to getting this bill through the Senate and then to the President’s desk.”

 

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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