By Meredith Mays, Legislative Representative, IACP
n the last congressional session, there were many attempts to pass H.R. 413, the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act. The legislation is strongly opposed by the IACP.
Briefly, H.R. 413 would effectively federalize state and local government labormanagement relations and deprive state and local governments of the necessary flexibility to manage their public safety operations in a manner that they choose. By mandating a “one-size-fits-all” approach to labor-management relations, H.R. 413 ignores the fact that every jurisdiction has unique needs and therefore requires the freedom to manage its public safety workforce in the manner that it has determined to be the most effective.
The bill has previously passed the House of Representatives by overwhelming majorities. In the Senate, several attempts have been made to pass the bill, but to date, all have been unsuccessful. However, proponents of H.R. 413 are likely to resurrect the bill this fall and it is important that the Senate hear opposition to it.
To contact your senators and tell them to vote down H.R. 413, please visit the IACP’s Legislative Action Center (LAC) where you can write or e-mail your senator about this important issue. The LAC includes a sample letter about H.R. 413 that can be personalized and sent simply by entering your contact information.
The LAC can be accessed at http://capwiz.com/theiacp/home/.
Congress Continues Appropriations Work
As Congress moves forward with the appropriations process, the House of Representatives and the Senate continued to work on many appropriations bills.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations, which fund the Department of Homeland Security, and Commerce-Justice-Science and Related Agencies (C-J-S) appropriations, which fund the Department of Justice are of particular interest to the law enforcement community. Both the House and Senate committees have completed work on these bills. At press time, the committee reported numbers are as follows:
- Byrne-JAG: $529 million
- COPS: $802 million (including $298 million for COPS hiring)
Note: At the time of this writing, the House had not yet released its recommendations for homeland security funding.
- Byrne-JAG: $510 million
- COPS: $658 million (including $100 million for COPS hiring)
- SHSG: $950 million
- UASI: $887 million
It is imperative that law enforcement executives continue to contact their elected representatives and outline what the loss of federal assistance funding will mean to the law enforcement community and to encourage them to restore full funding in FY 2010. At no time has it been more important for the voice of law enforcement to be heard than today.
To that end, the IACP has set up a Legislative Action Center (LAC): http://capwiz.com/theiacp/home/.
At the LAC you can write your members of Congress; find a congressional directory; and get information on national, state, and local elections. The IACP encourages members to write their elected officials on issues important to the law enforcement community.
PASS ID Legislation Introduced
Recently, Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) introduced S. 1261, Providing for Additional Security in States’ Identification Act of 2009. Briefly, the purpose or aim of S. 1261 is to streamline and make uniform the identification process from state to state. The legislation seeks to reform the REAL ID Act of 2005 “to better protect the security, confidentiality, and integrity of personally identifiable information collected by States when issuing driver’s licenses and identification documents.”
The IACP has not yet taken a position on S. 1261, however, the IACP’s official policy (as stated in the IACP Legislative Agenda) is that the association supports federal legislation that would establish national standards for the issuance of driver’s licenses, if the following conditions are met.
- Require that licenses contain both a unique identifier, such as a fingerprint, and anti-counterfeiting security devices
- Encourage states to link databases so licensing agencies and law enforcement personnel in other states can access an individuals’ criminal and motor vehicle traffic violation history to assist in the identification of potential criminal suspects or problem drivers
- Increase the penalties for identity theft and fraud
- Provide states with incentives to act and not penalize states with sanctions for the failure to act
In addition, the IACP supports legislation to require that identifying information about all motor vehicle operators is included in a bar code on motor vehicle licenses that would interface with state and federal law enforcement and motor vehicle agencies when scanned.
S. 1261, which currently has eight cosponsors, is being considered in the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. ■