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Washington Report – April 9, 2021

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: April 12, 2021

NAPO met virtually with majority staff of the House Judiciary Committee and staff for Senator Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard Durbin (D-IL) to discuss our priority legislation to move during National Police Week. We discussed the need for legislation to increase penalties for the murder, attempted murder, or assault of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers, legislation to ease requirements for officers to qualify for the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) Program disability benefits, the LEOSA Reform Act, and legislation to protect state and local law enforcement’s access to surplus military equipment through the Department of Defense 1033 Program; NAPO continues to communicate with Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI), the long-time sponsor of the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, which would grant the basic rights to collectively bargain over wages, hours and working conditions to public safety officers. With the death of George Floyd and push for police reform, there are calls to amend the Cooperation Act to strip and prohibit any language that would allow law enforcement officers to bargain over accountability or disciplinary issues in their collective bargaining agreements; House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal (D-MA) reintroduced his Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) reform legislation, the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act of 2021 (H.R. 2337), which NAPO strongly supports. Since most  officers must retire after specific time served, usually in their early to mid- fifties, many seek employment that pays into Social Security. Instead of receiving their full Social Security retirement benefit, their pension heavily offsets it, thus vastly reducing the amount they receive; FirstNet®, Built with AT&T, is the only network built with and for first responders and those that support their vital efforts. Created by the United States Congress to address gaps in national and local communications identified by the 9-11 Commission, FirstNet is accountable to keeping lines of communication open for law enforcement and other public safety organizations; On Aug. 22, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) reintroduced H.R. 283, creating a law enforcement officer bill of rights. NAPO strongly supports the effort to call attention to the need to protect officer due process rights during investigations; FEMA will provide financial assistance for funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020 for deaths related to COVID-19 to help ease some of the financial burden caused by the pandemic. This assistance is capped at $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application.

For more on these and other legislative measures, please click on the April 9, 2021 Washington Report and related links below.

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