NSA Capitol Watch Newsletter February 2012
On Capitol Hill

The House and Senate will be session until February 17th when they will both break for President's Day District Work Period.  


During the week of February 6th, the Senate is slated to take up a conference report on FAA authorization, as well as legislation dealing with transportation reauthorization.


The House will be working on a series of legislative measures including insider trading, line item veto, and the budget process. 


Additionally, the President is slated to unveil his FY2013 Budget Proposal the week of February 6th, officially kicking off the FY2013 budget cycle.

In This Issue

Urge Your Members of Congress to Cosponsor Hatch Act Legislation

NSA Supports Local Courthouse Safety Act of 2012

NSA Supports the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)


Attorney General Unveils Change to UCR Rape Definition

Attempts Fail to Increase the Weight and Size of Large Trucks
aUrge Your Members of Congress to Cosponsor Hatch Act Legislation

SHERIFFS: Please continue to reach out to both your U.S. House of Representatives Members and U.S. Senators and encourage them to cosponsor HR498 & S1562. The more support we have for the legislation, the easier the bill will be to move! 


For a sample letter of support and fact sheet on HR498 or S1562, please contact Stephanie Garlock at sgarlock@sheriffs.org or 703-838-5316. Also, to find out if your Members of Congress are already cosponsors, please contact Stephanie.
bNSA Supports Local Courthouse Safety Act of 2012

NSA has expressed our strong support for legislation slated to be introduced in the Senate - the Local Courthouse Safety Act of 2012.


The legislation, to be introduced by Sens. Franken (D-MN) and Boozman (R-AR) would: 1) allow states to use Byrne JAG and SHSGP funding for local courthouse security; 2) give local courts access to excess federal security equipment, such as metal detectors, wands, and baggage screening machines, similar to the program at the Defense Department which gives excess equipment to first responders; and 3) would formally authorize the VALOR (Preventing Violence Against Law Enforcement and Ensuring Officer Resilience and Survivability) Initiative of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). Established in 2010, the VALOR Initiative provides training to law enforcement in techniques for avoiding, responding, and surviving violent encounters.


The safety and security of our local courthouses is a top priority for the nation's sheriffs. The National Sheriffs' Association applauds and strongly supports the coming introduction of the Local Courthouse Safety Act of 2012, and looks forward to working with Congress to pass this critical legislation during the 112th Congress.

cNSA Supports the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

On February 2nd, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed legislation out of committee to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). NSA has expressed our support for the reauthorization of this important legislation.


NSA and the nation's sheriffs recognizes the extreme seriousness that the crimes of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and sex trafficking have on law enforcement, victims, and communities across the nation. Originally established in 1994, VAWA works to increase officer and victim safety, while striving to prevent future abuse, by providing resources to law enforcement agencies to enhance their core programs and policies, as well as to reaffirm the commitment to reform systems, that affect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and sex trafficking.


The reauthorization of VAWA would continue to enable law enforcement agencies across the country to adequately address domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and sex trafficking crimes by expanding funding for programs that recognize the concerns and needs of victims. Furthermore, VAWA supports the key collaboration between the victims' services community; health care community; and law enforcement to ensure that all victims are receiving the critical treatment and services necessary after a crime has occurred.


However, NSA does have one point of concern regarding the VAWA reauthorization involving PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) standards as they apply to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). NSA strongly believes that sexual violence and abuse have no place in our correctional facilities. As such, NSA has been working closely with the Department of Justice (DOJ) on PREA to ensure that the final standards take into consideration the vast differences between jails, which sheriffs largely operate, versus prisons; thus enabling for the efficient and effective implementation in jails nationwide.


Title X of the VAWA reauthorization would require DHS to establish and implement PREA standards for DHS detention facilities. As sheriffs will need to comply with PREA standards when finally established by the DOJ, NSA would like to ensure that final VAWA reauthorization language clarifies that DHS PREA standards need to be consistent with DOJ PREA standards. This would ensure that there are not differing standards for jails based on the federal, state, or local detainees held, as well as help with the swift and successful implementation of final PREA standards.


NSA has spoken with Senate Judiciary staff about this provision and they have stated that DHS is already working on developing PREA standards - this just makes sure they continue to do such. Also, Judiciary staff stated that DOJ and DHS are working closely on the standards together so that they are consistent.


While the law enforcement community, and society as a whole, has made great strides in combating such crimes as domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, sex trafficking, and dating violence since the original enactment of VAWA, there is still more work that still needs to be done. The reauthorization of VAWA will enable the continued partnership among sheriffs and victims' advocates and service providers to protect victims and prevent future victimization throughout the United States.

dINFORMATION NEEDED: Data on Byrne JAG Funding   

The Byrne JAG Program is up for reauthorization this year, as the program expires at the end of September 2012. As such, the House Judiciary Committee has begun to look at the program and reauthorization.


NSA, along with our law enforcement partners, are working closely together to ensure the concerns of law enforcement will be taken into consideration as the House Judiciary Committee moves forward in terms of reauthorization.


As such, it will be critical to have information from sheriffs on aspects of the Byrne JAG program. NSA would ask sheriffs to please let us know:



  1. What does your office use Byrne JAG funding for?
  2. What problems are you experiencing when applying for Byrne JAG funding? Is the grant process difficult? If yes, what specifically is problematic with the grant process?


As a side note, is there a specific purpose area, such as mental health or rural law enforcement that you would like to see a funding source for under DOJ? If yes, please explain the area and what you would use it for.


The information that you provide will be vital to helping in the Byrne JAG reauthorization process. If you could please e-mail your answers and information to: sgarlock@sheriffs.org as soon as possible, we would be greatly appreciative.


Additionally, please feel free to contact Stephanie Garlock at 703-838-5316 if you have any questions.

eAttorney General Unveils Change to UCR Rape Definition  


In early January, Attorney General Holder announced a revision to the definition of rape in the Uniform Crime Report (UCR).


This change will lead to a more comprehensive reporting of rape across the nation. The new definition of rape is: "The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim." This definition is more inclusive, closer to the definition used in most state criminal codes, and more accurately describes the various forms of sexual penetration considered to be rape. 


Additionally, this revised definition includes any gender of victim or perpetrator, includes instances in which the victim is incapable of giving consent because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity, including due to the influence of drugs or alcohol or because of age. Physical resistance from the victim is not required to demonstrate lack of consent. The new definition does not change federal or state criminal codes or impact charging and prosecution on the local level, only the reporting sent to the FBI.


NSA strongly supports this revised definition, particularly as a previous definition was significantly outdated. We have been working closely with the DOJ; the White House; and law enforcement and victims' organizations to accomplish this goal. The updated definition will help sheriffs more accurately report this heinous crime to federal authorities; represent the scope of rape victim experiences; and lead to a more comprehensive national statistical reporting of rape.


For more information, please view the DOJ's Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) press release and blog on the definition change:


fAttempts Fail to Increase Weight and Size of Large Trucks

Members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted to strike out a provision of the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act of 2012 that would have increased the weight and size of large trucks. The vote to remove the provision occurred on February 2nd during a mark-up of the legislation.


NSA has long been opposed to any legislative attempts to increase the weight and length of large trucks.Increasing the weight on already large trucks poses a substantial risk to the traveling public and public safety who patrol these roadways. When large trucks lose control, they are apt to do significantly more damage, in terms of physical harm; loss of life; and property damage, than standard vehicle collisions on our increasingly congested roadways. An increase in weight for trucks would not only increase the stopping distance of these trucks and decrease the ability to steer and control in emergency situations, but would also transfer into an increased striking force when involved in a traffic collision, especially with a much smaller vehicle. Heavier trucks can also potentially increase the involvement of multiple vehicles in these kinds of crashes, resulting in higher numbers of injuries and fatalities.


Additionally, these collisions put considerable strain on the response from the first responder community, as they are grappling with a decrease in personnel and an increase in overall duties due to budget constraints nationwide. Furthermore, roadway shutdowns and infrastructure damage caused by these collisions can cause millions in lost productivity and reduces the overall quality of life in our communities.


It is critical that we do all we can to reduce the risk to, and ensure the safety and security of, the motoring public across the United States. Therefore, NSA opposes any legislation that would increase the weight or length of large trucks.

News & Updates
Save the Date!
2012 Annual Conference
June 16-20, 2012
Gaylord Opryland
Nashville, TN
If you have any questions, please contact:
Stephanie Garlock


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