Federal Legislation – PORAC Goes to Washington

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

This October 23–24, the PORAC Executive Board, led by President Brian Marvel and Vice President Damon Kurtz, brought the voice of California law enforcement to Washington, meeting with senators, representatives and committees to convey the needs of peace officers across the state.

In total, PORAC met with 31 different offices from every corner of the state of California, as well as several Senate and House committees that handle the issues that matter to PORAC members. A complete list is below.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R–22)

Rep. Mike Levin (D–49)

Rep. Josh Harder (D–10)

Rep. Paul Cook (R–8)

Rep. Lou Correa (D–46)

Rep. Norma Torres (D–35)

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D–15)

Rep. Julia Brownley (D–26)

Rep. Grace Napolitano (D–32)

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R–23)

Rep. John Garamendi (D–3)

Rep. Jim Costa (D–16)

Rep. Salud Carbajal (D–24)

Rep. Katie Hill (D–25)

Rep. Ken Calvert (R–42)

Rep. Jerry McNerney (D–9)

Rep. Tom McClintock (R–4)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D)

Sen. Kamala Harris (D)

Rep. Scott Peters (D–52)

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D–19)

Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R–1)

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D–11)

Rep. Katie Porter (D–45)

Rep. Ro Khanna (D–17)

Rep. Juan Vargas (D–51)

Senate Finance Committee –
Majority

Senate Finance Committee –
Minority

Senate Judiciary Committee –
Majority

House Committee on Ways
and Means – Majority

House Judiciary Committee –
Minority

Through the course of these meetings, PORAC focused on five key issues that affect the everyday lives of law enforcement officers.

Funding for Federal Law Enforcement Grants

Law enforcement across the country relies on grants from the federal government, administered by the Department of Justice, to keep communities safe. While in Washington, PORAC stressed to members of both parties and both chambers the need to maximize that funding.

Opposing a Change in the
National Use-of-Force
Standard

Currently, under federal law, a police officer is allowed to use deadly force if that force is “reasonable” in light of fear of death or serious bodily harm to the officer or another person. H.R. 4359, introduced by Representative Ro Khanna (D–17), would change that standard to only permit a police officer to use deadly force when it is “necessary” and a last resort. This creates a highly subjective hindsight standard for evaluating and holding officers criminally liable for using force when responding to split-second, life-or-death situations.

PORAC has been vocal about its opposition to this bill, which will negatively impact community safety in California by creating a potentially devastating hesitation in officers. During the October fly-in, PORAC directly asked representatives and senators to oppose this legislation and instead work with PORAC to proactively address this complex issue.

Pension Reform Efforts

Workers who split their careers between jobs that require contributions to Social Security and jobs that do not, usually state or local public service jobs like law enforcement, have their Social Security benefit reduced when they reach retirement due to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).

While there are multiple legislative solutions being discussed, including the PORAC-supported Social Security Fairness Act, much of PORAC’s time was spent discussing H.R. 4540, the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act.

H.R. 4540 seeks to fix the WEP by introducing a new proportional formula designed to ensure public employees receive the benefit to which they are entitled, while also attempting to ensure that no Social Security beneficiary receives an unfair amount of benefit. The bill also includes a provision ensuring that no current or future retiree will be worse off than he or she is presently.

After meeting with the House Committee on Ways and Means, the PORAC Executive Committee voted unanimously to endorse H.R. 4540.

Supporting the Improving Community Safety Task Force Act

Facing a rising tide of violence directed as police, PORAC has worked with Representative Lou Correa (D–46) on the Improving Community Safety Task Force Act. The bill would direct the Department of Justice to convene a task force of law enforcement representatives, community members and policy experts to study incidents where law enforcement officers and other first responders are attacked and incidents involving use of deadly force by law enforcement. This task force would provide recommendations on strategies and policy changes aimed at lessening the frequency of those incidents and enhancing community safety.

The Improving Community Safety Task Force Act will contribute to the safety of law enforcement officers and community members. During the October fly-in, PORAC urged members to cosponsor the legislation.

Protecting the Lives of Peace Officers

In addition to pushing the Improving Community Safety Task Force Act, PORAC has endorsed S. 1480, the Back the Blue Act, in an effort to reduce instances of violence against police.

The Back the Blue Act sends a strong message that there will be no tolerance for any act of violence against a law enforcement officer. It creates a new federal crime for killing, attempting to kill or conspiring to kill a federal judge, federal law enforcement officer, or federally funded public safety officer. Additionally, S. 1480 expands the availability of certain grant funding to improve law enforcement-community relations.

PORAC urged both California senators to cosponsor the legislation while discussing with representatives the possibility for the introduction of an identical bill in the House.

2018 Symposium Registration & Topics *New Topics Announced*

Symposium Registration and Topics Announced – 2/2018

Registration for the 2018 Symposium Issues at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Golf Resort Palm Springs is now open! Find Out More…

Register Here


 The Impact of Court Cases & Pension Reform On Law Enforcement

2018 Symposium Topics:

Something Wicked This Way Comes: Janus v. AFSCME

Robert Bonsall, PORAC Corporate Counsel

So You Thought 60 Years of Established and Unchallenged Law Would Protect Your Pension? Not So Fast . . .

Timothy Talbot, Attorney, Rains Lucia Stern St. Phalle & Silver 

Legislative & Political Action Update

Randy Perry, PORAC Lobbyist, Aaron Read & Associates

FLSA Tactical Training for Law Enforcement: The Basics, Emerging Issues, and Defeating Management Dirty Tricks to Undermine the FLSA at the Table

David E. Mastagni, Attorney, Mastagni Holstedt, A.P.C. 

Mind vs. Machine

Alison Berry-Wilkinson, Attorney, Berry Wilkinson Law Group

What Every Board Member Needs to Know To Stay Out Of Trouble?

Rick Pinckard & Brad Fields, Attorneys, Bobbitt, Pinckard & Fields

The Real Threat to Your Liberty: the Federal Government

Paul Goyette, Attorney, Goyette and Associates

POA Injury Recovery and/or Disability Toolbox: How to Help Your Members Navigate the Workers’ Compensation System

Steve Scardino, Attorney, Geklaw

 

∼Additional Topics Will Be Added as Issues Arise∼

*topics subject to change*