By Meredith Ward, Legislative Representative, IACP
n late July, the House passed the National Criminal Justice Commission Act (H.R. 5143), sponsored by Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA). H.R. 5143, a companion to the Senate bill (S. 714) introduced by Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), calls for a top-to-bottom review of the nation’s criminal justice system. This initiative is a top priority for the IACP, and, thus, the legislation is strongly supported by the IACP.
H.R. 5143 directs the commission to study all areas of the criminal justice system, including federal, state, local, and tribal governments’ criminal justice costs, practices, and policies. After conducting the review, the commission will make recommendations for changes to or continuation of oversight, policies, practices, and laws designed to prevent, deter, and reduce crime and violence; improve cost-effectiveness; and ensure the interests of justice.
In mid-January, S. 714 was approved by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. The Senate is expected to debate the legislation this fall.
D-Block Allocation Gains Momentum
The IACP continues to push for critical legislation to allocate D-Block spectrum to public safety for the development of a national interoperable public safety broadband network. The IACP has participated in several events to push the legislation, including holding many briefings for congressional staff.
In April, the IACP announced support for H.R. 5081, the Broadband for First Responders Act of 2010, introduced by Representatives Peter King (R-NY) and Yvette Clark (D-NY). H.R. 5081 will allocate the D-Block spectrum to public safety for the development of a national, interoperable, public safety broadband network.
In mid-July, the IACP participated in a day of meetings on Capitol Hill and a press conference on this topic. At the press conference, IACP First Vice President Mark Marshall discussed the importance of
allocating the D-Block spectrum to public safety. That day, the IACP also announced its support for the Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act, introduced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), and the First Responders Protection Act, introduced by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). These pieces of legislation seek to provide law enforcement and other public safety agencies with an additional 10 MHz of spectrum that is necessary to support a national, interoperable, wireless broadband network that will help them fulfill their mission of protecting lives in communities throughout the United States.
For the past year, the IACP has been urging Congress to pass legislation to remove the auction requirements for the D-Block and allocate that spectrum to public safety. For many years, the IACP has been a leader in promoting the development of a nationwide wireless broadband data network for law enforcement and public safety.
The IACP will continue to work with Congress to pass H.R. 5081 and will work with the Obama administration and the FCC to gain common ground on a successful conclusion to this conflict.
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Releases FY 2011 Appropriation Amounts
In July, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies passed its funding levels for fiscal year (FY) 2011—that is, amounts that will fund the Department of Justice in FY 2011.
The Senate version included $510 million for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant after carve outs; $468 million for the Office on Violence Against Women programs; and $586 million for
Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) office programs—$400 million of which is for hiring.
Earlier this summer, the House passed its version; the House bill provides $442 million for programs administered by the Office on Violence Against Women, $690 million for programs administered by the COPS office, nearly $2.7 billion for programs administered by the Office of Justice Programs, and $413 million for Adam Walsh Act activities and other sex offender and child exploitation prevention and enforcement programs.
The subcommittee’s proposed budget for FY 2011 represents the first step in the federal budget process. Appropriation bills now head to full House and Senate appropriations committees to craft the annual
appropriation bills that fund the federal government.
Mandatory Collective-Bargaining Legislation Sidelined Again
In July, congressional supporters of the Public Safety Employer–Employee Cooperation Act (H.R. 413/S.1611) again attempted to pass the legislation by adding it to the supplemental appropriations bill in the U.S. Senate. The legislation was passed in the House earlier this summer and is strongly opposed by the IACP. Because of the hard work by IACP members and other organizations, the Senate failed to pass the provision.
This legislation would mandate that all state and local governments
- allow for the unionization of their police force;
- require collective bargaining with the union; and
- require bargaining over hours, wages, and terms and conditions of employment.
In addition, the legislation would also empower the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) to review the existing collective-bargaining laws in all 50 states to ensure that they meet the new federal standard. If the FLRA determines that a state fails to meet the standard, it will have the authority to mandate changes to that state’s existing policies and procedures. ■
Please cite as:
Meredith Ward, "National Criminal Justice Commission Act Passes," Legislative Alert, The Police Chief 77 (September 2010): 8, http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CPIM0910/index.php#/8 (insert access date).