Federal Legislation – Amid Uncertainty, PORAC Goes to Washington

Darryl Nirenberg
Partner
Eva Rigamonti
Associate
Patrick Northrup
Legislative Assistant
Steptoe & Johnson LLP

As fears over the coronavirus grew, and only hours before congressional offices largely closed their doors to outside visitors, the PORAC Executive Committee spent two days in Washington, D.C., speaking to lawmakers and policymakers about the needs of law enforcement officers across the state of California. March 11–12, PORAC Executive Committee members met with 24 offices from the California delegation to the United States House of Representatives, the offices of both California senators, three different Senate and House committees, members of the Attorney General’s Office, Assistant Attorney General Katie Sullivan, and Phil Keith, director of the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program and chair of the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice. Throughout these meetings, PORAC relentlessly advocated for the issues and needs of the California law enforcement community.

During PORAC’s time in Washington, several issues took precedence over others. Among these were:

  • Federal funding for grants to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies, such as the COPS program, Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (Byrne JAG) and High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program
  • Protecting the retirements of law enforcement officers and all public employees by reforming the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) through support of House Ways and Means Chairman Richie Neal’s (D-MA-1) H.R. 4540, the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act, and S. 521/H.R. 141, the Social Security Fairness Act
  • Preventing violence against police officers by promoting Representative Lou Correa’s (D-CA-16) H.R. 5251, the Improving Community Safety Task Force Act, and S. 1480/H.R. 5395, the Back the Blue Act
  • Improving mental health care for law enforcement officers and communities through Representative Josh Harder’s (D-CA-10) H.R. 2696, the Supporting the Health and Safety of Law Enforcement Act, and S. 2746/H.R. 3735, the Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act
  • Supporting the families of fallen law enforcement officers through H.R. 2697, the Corporal Ronil Singh and Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act, a bill from Representative Harder to provide Pell Grants to the spouses of fallen officers

In meetings with members of Congress, congressional staff and Trump administration officials, PORAC Executive Committee members made a compelling case for the prioritization of these issues and delivered important information on the challenges facing law enforcement officers across California. Despite the uncertainty surrounding Congress as the coronavirus situation escalates into a pandemic, PORAC will continue this advocacy in Washington until the needs of law enforcement are met.  

Santa Cruz CO DSA Assisting Elderly Members Of The Community

Sometimes it’s the most vulnerable members of our communities that need help the most. Yet another example of how law enforcement keeps us safe not only from dangers but our own welfare. Santa Cruz County “Deputies were called for a welfare check of one of our elderly community members after neighbors reported he hadn’t taken his usual walk to the grocery store in a few weeks. We were able to make contact with the man but learned he was in need of a few things from the store.”

Click Here to see the entire story.

Chula Vista Officers Act of Kindness

“As a peace officer, there isn’t much that I haven’t had the opportunity to see or deal with. Just a few hours ago while working an overtime shift I had a first in my 15-year career.” Chula Vista Peace Officer and Chula Vista POA President David Martinez received a call from dispatch regarding a 90-year resident that was unable to reach her caretaker over the last few days. That’s when Officer Martinez jumped into action.

Click Here to check out the Facebook post and see the full news story Here.