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Jun 28, 2024

The House Judiciary Committee approved the Pretrial Release Reporting Act (H.R. 2833) on June 27. This bill would require the Department of Justice (DOJ) to issue a report to Congress within 180 days detailing information on individuals released on bail and pretrial release from state courts charged with violent felony offenses.

NAPO has been working to move legislation to reauthorize our top priority grant program, the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program, since the beginning of the year, and included it in our list of National Police Week priorities. The COPS Reauthorization Act, has been listed on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s markup calendar since National Police Week, but has not been acted on due to opposition from Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and other Committee members who want to see police reform language added to the bill. NAPO worked to find a compromise that would add transparency and accountability to the COPS Program while not attaching onerous strings to COPS grants. Unfortunately, our efforts were unsuccessful. The COPS Program has not been reauthorized since 2006, but thankfully, Congress recognizes the vital importance of the resources and grant funding provided by COPS to state and local law enforcement and continues to appropriate funding for the program.

NAPO met with House Ways and Means Committee staff to discuss a path forward for the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 82), which currently has 322 bipartisan cosponsors. The Committee has held two hearings on the bill – the first to hear from victims of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the second to hear from think tanks on the impact of repealing these provisions on the Social Security Trust Fund and possible policy solutions. With this much momentum behind the bill, we are pushing for the Committee to mark up H.R. 82 and send it to the House floor for a vote. Unfortunately, the significant cost of the bill (roughly $180 billion) is proving to be a large obstacle to moving it forward. The bill’s sponsor, Congressman Garrett Graves (R-LA), is determined to find a way to pay for the cost of the bill, but we are concerned with what those pay-fors may be. 

NAPO met with Senator Klobuchar’s staff on moving her bill, the Honoring Our Fallen Heroes Act (S. 930), that would recognize exposure-related cancers as line of duty injuries under the DOJ's Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) Program. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill unanimously on May 16 during National Police Week. NAPO is working to support Sen. Klobuchar’s efforts and shore up support for the bill to remove any obstacles to its passage.

NAPO pledged our support for the bipartisan Tools to Address Known Exploitation by Immobilizing Technological Deepfakes on Websites and Networks (TAKE IT DOWN) Act (S. 4569), which would criminalize the publication of non-consensual intimate imagery or the threat to publish such images and would require websites to take down these images at the request of the victim. In a world where generative AI is increasingly being used to create deepfakes, it is vital that federal laws be updated to protect individuals against the creation and non-consensual sharing of deepfake intimate and explicit images. NAPO also supports the SHIELD Act, which would narrowly establish federal criminal liability for individuals who share private, explicit images without consent. Taken together, the SHIELD Act and the TAKE IT DOWN Act would protect victims of both real and fake non-consensual intimate imagery and give law enforcement the tools necessary to bring perpetrators to justice.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) approved its version of the Fiscal Year 2025 CJS Appropriations bill on June 26 along party lines. The bill would reduce the budget for the DOJ by nearly $1 billion mainly through cuts to federal law enforcement agencies, particularly the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Despite the large cut, the bill maintains relatively steady funding for state and local law enforcement assistance grant programs. We are grateful that the House continues to support the COPS Program and the Bryne JAG Program and the various grants, programs, and initiatives they provide resources for, but we feel there is more that can be done to assist state and local law enforcement in their efforts to serve and protect our communities.

The National Institute for Retirement Security (NIRS) issued a report this month entitled, “The Role of Defined Benefit Pensions in Recruiting and Retaining Public Safety Professionals.” This report examines data from state and local police and fire pension plans from across the country and looks at how defined benefit pension plans help with the recruitment, retention, and retirement of public safety officers.

For more details on these and other legislative issues, please click here for the June 28, 2024 Washington Report.

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