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Washington Report – June 4, 2021

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: June 4, 2021

On May 28, President Biden released his full proposed budget for fiscal year 2022 which includes funding requests for NAPO’s priority grant programs within the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security (DOJ, DHS). In general, the budget proposal for DOJ focuses on supporting police and criminal justice reform initiatives and proposes adequate sustained funding for several of NAPO’s priority grant programs, including the Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant Program, the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA), and the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act and Supporting and Treating Officers in Crisis (STOIC) Act programs. It also includes a significant funding increase for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program, most of which is prioritized for the President’s anti-violence and police reform priorities; In a victory for NAPO, just prior to Memorial Day recess, the Senate passed the Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Federal Law Enforcement Protection Act (S. 921). This bill would ensure justice is served by applying federal extra territorial jurisdiction to federal murder or attempted murder cases of federal law enforcement officers; The Protecting America’s First Responders Act was set to pass prior to recess until Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) put a hold on it, stopping the bill from being voted on by unanimous consent. We continue to work with the Senator’s staff to alleviate his concerns and hope to pass the bill through the Senate next week; The COPS Counseling Act is expected to be taken up under suspension of the rules and pass the Senate by unanimous consent as early as June 7. This legislation would implement confidentiality standards for federal law enforcement peer support counseling programs and direct the U.S. Attorney General to report on best practices and professional standards for state and local peer support counseling programs; Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) said Police Reform negotiators in the Senate must come to an agreement by the end of June or the legislation is essentially a dead issue. The main sticking points continue to be qualified immunity and Section 242, the threshold for federal criminal civil rights prosecutions, with Democrats determined to eliminate officer protections under both. However, staff believes that an outline of an agreement can be reached within the next couple of weeks. NAPO continues to reiterate to members of Congress and those negotiating that qualified immunity and Section 242 are red lines for us and they must not be tampered with; NAPO is voicing concerns with the First Step Implementation Act, which would make the reduced mandatory minimums enacted by the FIRST STEP Act retroactive. NAPO opposed the FIRST STEP Act, signed into law in December 2018, because we believed it made reforms to our nation’s criminal justice system that would harm public safety, create more crime in our communities and impose a great resource burden on law enforcement. One significant concern was it gave the greatest benefits to high-recidivism offenders like drug traffickers, who received reduced mandatory minimum sentences under the Act; and NAPO’s Legislative Priorities Booklet for the 117th Congress is available on our website. The booklet is an in-depth look at the work NAPO has accomplished for our members over the years and the priority issues we continue to fight for in Congress today.

For more information on these and other legislative issues, please click on the June 4, 2021 Washington Report below.

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