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Washington Report – Feb. 5, 2021

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: February 5, 2021

On Jan. 26, the President was supposed to issue executive orders to create a law enforcement commission and reinstate restrictions on state and local law enforcement’s access to equipment through the Department of Defense 1033 program, amongst others. After lobbying efforts by NAPO, however, the President did not sign these two executive orders and it is uncertain at this time when he will issue them. He did, however, sign an executive order to eliminate the use of private prisons by the federal Bureau of Prisons; President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief package includes $350 billion in additional aid to state and local governments to help address budget and revenue shortfalls caused by the pandemic and to help with vaccine distribution. The package also includes additional $1,400 tax rebate checks, $400 of weekly federal unemployment insurance through September, $440 billion for communities and small businesses, an additional $30 billion for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund for health care and first responder personal protective equipment and supplies, $130 billion to help schools reopen safely, and $20 billion to establish a universal vaccination program. It also includes a raise in the federal minimum wage to $15/hour, which has many business groups and Republicans balking at the plan; NAPO is working to reintroduce the LEOSA Reform Act, the Protecting America’s First Responders Act, and the Back the Blue Act in the coming weeks. These three bills will be priorities for us to move by National Police Week. Protecting America’s First Responders Act would make it easier for public safety officers disabled in the line of duty to qualify for the Public Safety Officer’s Benefits (PSOB) Program’s disability benefits. It would also ensure beneficiaries receive the highest award amount possible and that all children of public safety officers disabled or killed in the line of duty are able to benefit from the Public Safety Officers’ Education Assistance program. Back the Blue Act would increase penalties for the murder, attempted murder, or assault of a federal, state or local law enforcement officer to deter such crimes and bring greater protections to officers and communities. LEOSA Reform Act would expand the areas qualified current or retired officers are allowed to carry a firearm, including on a Gun Free School Zone; on state, local and private property otherwise open to the public; and in certain federal facilities; NAPO pledged continued support for the reintroduced Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act (S. 42) for cooperation among federal, state, and local law enforcement officers to keep criminal illegal immigrants off the streets; NAPO also supports the reintroduced Heroes Lesley Zerebny and Gil Vega First Responder Survivors Support Act, (H.R. 483) to increase the Public Safety Officer’s Benefits (PSOB) death, disability, and education benefits.

For more on these and other legislative issues, please click on the Feb. 5, 2021 Washington Report below.

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