National Sheriffs' Association Newsletter: Capitol Watch
February 2013
On Capitol Hill

The 113th Congress began on January 3, 2013, with more than 100 new members across both chambers. A number of issues, including the Hurricane Sandy relief package and the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization, have already received consideration in one or both chambers.


Congress has a number of appropriations-related issues it must address in the coming weeks: the sequester which is scheduled to go into effect on March 1, the Continuing Resolution that will expire on March 27, and regular fiscal appropriations. If sequestration takes effect, the federal government will be forced to make sweeping, across the board cuts to every program and agency. The Continuing Resolution only funds the federal government through March 27 and, without another Continuing Resolution or an omnibus appropriations package before that date, a government shutdown remains a possibility.


Additionally, Congress has continued to push gun control and comprehensive immigration reform as major issues this session. Several hearings have already been held and numerous bills have already been introduced in both chambers.

In This Issue
Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Released Recommendations
Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act
Office of Special Counsel Released New Hatch Act Guidance
National Association of Counties Solicits Award Program Applications
Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Released Recommendations


The House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, led by Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA), released its recommendations on February 7, 2013. In the two months before the recommendations were released, the task force solicited input from a wide range of stakeholders including law enforcement; mental health experts and physicians; gun owners, hunters, and outdoor sportsmen; victims of gun violence; gun safety advocates; representatives of the motion picture, television, music, and video game industries; and others.


The fifteen recommendations cover a range of policy proposals, including strengthening the National Instant Criminal Background Checks System (NICS) database; prosecuting those prohibited buyers who attempt to purchase firearms and others who violate federal firearms laws; and restoring funding for public safety and law enforcement initiatives aimed at reducing gun violence. The full text of the recommendations can be read here .


The task force is expected to use these recommendations to begin drafting legislation and the National Sheriffs' Association will monitor any legislation as it is introduced.


Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act Introduced in House and Senate  


Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and Congressman Richard Nugent (R-FL) have introduced the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act (JMHCA) to reauthorize the successful Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA). The JMHCA reauthorizes MIOTCRA for an additional five years, supports the development of training curricula for law enforcement academies; increases focus on corrections-based programs; and authorizes investments in veterans' treatment courts. The bills, H.R 401 in the House and S. 162 in the Senate, have been assigned to their respective Committees on the Judiciary. The legislation has received widespread support, including from the National Sheriffs' Association, and we will continue to monitor its progress.

Office of Special Counsel Released New Hatch Act Guidance   


In response to the changes made to the Hatch Act at the end of the 112th Congress, the Office of Special Counsel has released a new one page guidance document. To view the document, please click  here.


National Association of Counties Solicits Award Program Applications


The National Association of Counties (NACo) is soliciting applications for the NACo Annual Achievement Award Program. The Achievement Awards are a great way for counties to receive national recognition for not only their innovative and state-of-the-art county government programs, but for the dedicated employees who make these programs successful.


We would like to encourage counties to apply for an Achievement Award. It is a great way for counties to receive national recognition for their county programs and it supports the county and provides a comprehensive list of best practices that counties, your association, and NACo can use to demonstrate why counties are so important.


Member counties and non-member counties are both eligible to apply with a fee ($60 for member counties; $150 for non-member counties). To guide applicants through the process, the 2013 Achievement Award Application Overview, Frequently Asked Questions, video tutorial, and electronic applications are available on the NACo website:


The deadline to submit application materials, including application fees, is February 21, 2013, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Questions about the program can be directed to Katie Bess,, 202.942.4215.

News & Updates
Save the Date!
NSA 2013 Annual Conference
June 20-26, 2013
Charlotte, NC

Breanna Bock-Nielsen
Legislative Liaison

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