NSA Capitol Watch Newsletter July 2011
Discussions between Congress and the Administration continue on raising the debt ceiling and overall debt reduction.

The House will bring up several FY12 Appropriation bills for full consideration this week on the House Floor. Additionally, several other Appropriations bills will receive committee consideration. The House will also consider bills to overhaul flood insurance and allow states more autonomy with water quality standards.

The Senate votes Monday on a motion to proceed to a non-binding bill on deficit reduction.

 

In This Issue

 

aHouse Appropriations Committee Marks-Up FY12 CJS Bill
On Wednesday, the full House Appropriations Committee met to mark-up the draft FY12 CJS Appropriations bill. As you recall from my e-mail last week, the draft bill eliminated funding for both the COPS Program and SCAAP.

Over the last week, NSA has worked with our law enforcement and state and local intergovernmental partners to push our Hill allies to get the funding reinstated. From that outreach, we learned that several amendments were slated to be offered during the Full Committee mark-up that would reinstate funding for both COPS and SCAAP.

Over the last few days, I have asked particular sheriffs/state associations to reach out to specific Congressional Members, who served on the full Appropriations Committee, and urge those members to support all amendment to reinstate funding for COPS and SCAAP. NSA also contacted the Members' Appropriations staffers and urged for the same thing - reinstatement of funding. Additionally, Congressman Reichert (R-WA) and Congressman Pascrell (D-NJ) held a press conference on Tuesday urging Congress to reinstate funding for the COPS Program.

During the mark-up, three amendments for SCAAP and five amendments for COPS were offered:
  • In regards to SCAAP, all three amendments were withdrawn. The amendments were offered by Congressman Carter (R-TX), Congressman Honda (D-CA), and Congressman Lewis (R-CA). HOWEVER, Chairman Frank Wolf (Chair of the CJS Committee) made a personal commitment to those members to work with them to find funding for SCAAP when the FY12 CJS Bill goes to the House Floor.
  • In regards to COPS, four amendments failed and one amendment was withdrawn. Amendments were offered by Congressman Schiff (D-CA); Congressman Fattah (D-PA); Congresswoman Lee (D-CA); and two by Congressman Rothman (D-NJ). HOWEVER, Chairman Frank Wolf ALSO gave his commitment to try and find funding for COPS. Furthermore, Congressman LaTourette (R-OH) committed to working with Congressman Schiff (D-CA) on an amendment for the House Floor.

Although no funding was included for COPS or SCAAP during today's mark-up, the commitment from Chairman Wolf to work to find funding for both COPS and SCAAP is STILL A VICTORY for sheriffs. It is because of the phone calls that the nation's sheriffs and state associations have made to their Members of Congress, expressing how important this funding is to them, that we have received these commitments from the Chairman and that so many members of the Appropriations Committee were pushing for reinstating the funding for both COPS and SCAAP.


As a side note, Byrne JAG remains within CJS at its proposed level of $357M and the Meth Clean-Up funding remains at $15M.

That being said, IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT WE DO NOT STOP NOW! NSA continues to ask that sheriffs personally reach out to their Members of Congress and continue to express how important this funding is to them; and how the lack of funding, particularly in regards to SCAAP and COPS, would affect their office/state. By reaching out to your Members of Congress, the Members then reach out to Appropriations and Leadership staff!


In the coming days, NSA will be meeting with our law enforcement and intergovernmental partners to re-group and discuss the next steps. It is unclear when the FY12 CJS Appropriations bill will be brought up on the House Floor; however, it is still expected to come up BEFORE the Congress recesses on August 5th. NSA will continue to keep you all updated and provide you with information as the process unfolds.

 

bLaw Enforcement Caucus Co-Chairs Hold Press Conference on COPS Office Funding Elimination
Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), co-chairs of the House Law Enforcement Caucus, held a press conference Tuesday to oppose the proposed elimination of the U.S. Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office within the FY12 CJS Appropriations Bill.

Representatives of the national law enforcement organizations, including NSA; the Fraternal Order of Police; the National Association of Police Organizations; National Troopers Coalition; International Association of Chiefs of Police; Major County Sheriffs and National Narcotics Officers Association Coalition; and National Criminal Justice Association; and multiple Members of Congress were also in attendance.

NSA President Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald (Story County, IA) spoke on behalf of the nation's sheriffs at the press conference and reiterated the significant importance of COPS Funding to law enforcement nationwide through grants to assist law enforcement agencies on a multitude of anti-crime and community policing programs. Additionally, Sheriff Fitzgerald also expressed the importance of COPS funding to help local law enforcement agencies combat methamphetamine.

 

c2011 National Drug Control Strategy Released
On Monday, July 11, Director Gil Kerlikowske released the Office of National Drug Control Policy's 2011 National Drug Control Strategy.
The 2011 Strategy continues to focus on the Administration's two main drug-control goals: curtailing drug consumption in America and improving public health and public safety by reducing the consequences of drug use.

Additionally, the Administration is focusing its efforts on three signature initiatives: (1) reducing prescription drug abuse; (2) reducing drugged driving; and (3) expanding community-based substance abuse prevention; as well as populations with unique challenges and needs in addressing substance abuse issues: active duty military and veterans; women and their families; college and university students; and those in the criminal justice system.

The full 2011 strategy can be found on ONDCP's website at: http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/strategy/
dHouse Crime Subcommittee Holds Hearing on HR1981

The National Sheriffs' Association had the opportunity on July 12th to testify at a hearing held by U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security on HR1981 -Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011.

 

The legislation, introduced by Congressman Smith (R-TX) and Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), would require an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to retain the addresses assigned to customers for 18 months; provide legal protections for ISP to further facilitate cooperation with law enforcement; create a new federal offense for individuals who profit from child pornography; significantly enhance penalties for possession of child pornography; provide administrative subpoena authority to the U.S. Marshals to access critical travel information and records on fugitive sex offenders; and strengthen the protections for child witnesses and victims.

 

Testifying on behalf of NSA was Sheriff Mike Brown (Bedford County, VA and NSA Executive Committee/Board of Directors member). The Bedford County Sheriff's Office was among the first 10 agencies to receive funding for an Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force in 1998.

 

Sheriff Brown not only reiterated NSA's support for HR1981 but stressed the importance of creating uniformity and requiring ISPs to retain IP addresses associated with customer information for a period of 18-months, to ensure that when law enforcement contacts an ISP looking for a child predator, the identifying information will still exist.

 

Also testifying during the hearing were Mr. Ernie Allen, President and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC); and Mr. Marc Rotenberg, Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).

 

The hearing was contentious as there were members of the Judiciary Committee who both supported and opposed the legislation. The main focus of the opposition was centered around the 18-month retention requirement and concerns with privacy issues. Chairman Lamar Smith, chair of the Full Judiciary Committee and sponsor of the legislation, stated his intention to work with his colleagues to examine their individual concerns.

 

NSA remains committed to working with Chairman Smith on this important legislation.

eD Block Continues to be Hot Issue on Capitol Hill
The call to allocate the D Block to public safety continues to gain momentum on Capitol Hill.

On June 8, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a mark-up on S911 - Strengthening Public-safety and Enhancing Communications Through Reform, Utilization, and Modernization (SPECTRUM) Act.

S911 is the bi-partisan compromise D Block bill reintroduced by Sen. Rockefeller (D-WV) & Sen. Hutchison (R-TX) - Chair/Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce Committee

S911 was successfully voted out of the Senate Commerce Committee by a vote of 21-4. The bill can now be brought up on the Senate Floor for a vote by the full Senate at any time.

Furthermore, on July 11, Congressman John Dingell (D-MI) and Congressman Gene Green (D-TX) introduced HR2482 - Public Safety Spectrum Wireless and Innovation Act. This legislation is a companion bill to the bi-partisan S911 introduced in the Senate. NSA has expressed our support for HR2482.

While we continue to gain support and momentum on the D Block, the fight remains far from over. There are still Members of Congress who would prefer to auction the D Block over allocating it to public safety. Until Congress passes legislation to allocate the D Block to public safety, the D Block still has the potential to be auctioned off.

We continue to need your help to secure Congress' support for the allocation of the D Block to public safety. NSA urges you to continue to reach out to your Members of Congress, particularly in the House, and request their support for S911 (Rockefeller/Hutchison); HR607 (King/Thompson); and HR2482 (Dingell/Green).
 
To obtain sample letters of support on both bills or for talking points on the D Block issue, please contact Stephanie Garlock at sgarlock@sheriffs.org or (703) 838-5316.
fICE Announces Improvements to Secure Communities
Last month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced new improvements to the Secure Communities program.

In particular, a few of the key provisions include:
  • A new advisory committee that will advise the Director of ICE on ways to improve Secure Communities, including making recommendations on how to best focus on individuals who pose a true public safety or national security threat.
  • Guidance for ICE law enforcement personnel and attorneys regarding their authority to exercise discretion when appropriate-authority designed to help ICE better focus on meeting the priorities of both the agency and the Secure Communities program to use limited resources to target criminals and those that put public safety at risk.
  • A new training program for state and local law enforcement agencies to provide more information for state and local law enforcement about how Secure Communities works and how it relates to laws governing civil rights.
  • A new policy specifically to protect victims of domestic violence and other crimes, and to ensure these crimes continue to be reported and prosecuted.
  • A revised the detainer form that ICE sends to local jurisdictions to emphasize the longstanding guidance that state and local authorities are not to detain an individual for more than 48 hours.
  • A new complaint system whereby individuals or organizations who believe civil rights violations connected to Secure Communities have occurred can file a complaint.

For the full details on all the improvements to Secure Communities, please visit: http://www.ice.gov/secure_communities/.
gREMINDER: Urge Congress to become Cosponsors to Hatch Act Reform Legislation
Sheriffs: It is imperative that you continue to urge your U.S. House of Representatives to become cosponsors of HR498 - the State and Local Law Enforcement Hatch Act Reform Act of 2011. Please remember: the stronger the support from Members of Congress, the greater the ability to pass the legislation. A sample letter of support and fact sheet on the bill can be found HERE.

Currently, there are 19 cosponsors; however, many more are needed in order to swiftly move the bill through the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee - the Committee of bill jurisdiction.

NSA is working with Rep. Latta to move the legislation forward in the 112th Congress. Your continued support is VITAL to our success.
News & Updates
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2012 Winter Conference
January 18-22, 2012
JW Marriott
Washington, DC
 

If you have any questions, please contact:
Stephanie Garlock
sgarlock@sheriffs.org
703.838.5316

 

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