The Washington Report

FOP Victorious in Fight on Key Law Enforcement Programs

The efforts of the National Legislative Office to defend and increase funding for two of law enforcement’s most critical funding programs met with success during floor consideration of H.R. 5326, the “Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013.” The FOP was engaged in supporting two amendments to the bill that provides funding for the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Justice, as well as other science programs. The first amendment, H. Amdt. 1050, was offered by Representative Jon D. Runyan (R-NJ). It sought to provide additional funding to the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) program to match the level appropriated in the Senate companion bill, S. 2323, which was favorably reported by the Appropriations Committee in April. The Byrne-JAG program is a critical crime-prevention and crime-fighting program, enabling communities to target resources to their most pressing local needs. Critical collaboration occurs among law enforcement agencies through Byrne-JAG-funded multijurisdictional drug task forces which enable law enforcement agencies to join together in targeting regional drug-trafficking organizations. The amendment passed on a 325-81 vote.

Representative Grimm, the sponsor of H.R. 365, the “National Blue Alert Act,” offered H. Amdt. 1055, which increased funding for the hiring program administered by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) to the same level as that of S. 2323. In November of last year, the House voted 265-160 to instruct its conferees to “insist on the highest level of funding” for the COPS program before sending H.R. 2112, the “Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012,” to conference. However, the funding provided in H.R. 5326 as reported by committee was lower than both the president’s request and the amount in S. 2323. Representative Grimm’s amendment passed on a very narrow 206-204 vote.

The bill will now be transmitted to the Senate, which may take up the bill or proceed to its own measure for further action.

“Normal Retirement Age” Implementation Delayed Again

In April, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking related to the definition of the term “governmental plan” under section 414(d) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). The notice can be read here:

Specifically, the notice clarifies that governmental plans do not need to have a definition of “normal retirement age” if they don’t provide for in-service distributions before age 62. Of greatest interest to our members, the new guidance also expands the age 50 safe harbor rule in the 2007 regulations, which will now encompass public safety pension plans that are combined with other plans for non-public safety workers. Public safety officers no longer have to worry about qualifying for “early unreduced retirement” just because they are part of a larger pension system which covers a larger public pension plan.

In addition, the IRS again delayed implementation of the requirement that a pension plan’s normal retirement age be an age that is “not earlier than the earliest age that is reasonably representative of the typical retirement age for the industry in which the covered workforce is employed.” For public plans, the new “normal retirement age” would be 50. The FOP has been working on this issue for some time and expected that the regulations would again be delayed. The new implementation date is January 1, 2015, but we expect that this issue will be resolved through regulation or by legislation. The FOP is actively working with Representatives Ronald J. Kind (D-WI) and James Garret (R-NJ) to pass H.R. 3561, the “Small Business Pension Promotion Act.” The bill includes a provision that would make clear that existing plans which use “years of service” to establish a normal retirement date will be able to continue this practice without penalty and without jeopardizing the retirement plans and benefits of public safety officers.

NFOP Foundation National Police Week Raffle

The NFOP Foundation raffled off a wide variety of police products during National Police Week. More than 80 tickets were sold and $1,640 was raised through donations online and at our booth.

Thirty-five lucky winners received prizes including products from 5.11 Tactical, BASS, BLACKHAWK!, Bluegun, Benchmade, Columbia River Knife & Tool, Horace Small, Oakley, Otis and the Washington Nationals. These items were generously donated by the manufacturers and we encourage all our FOP members to remember these brands when making future purchases. They are great supporters of your Foundation.

Again, I want to congratulate the following winners: Ron Bartmier, Leslie Bonel, Shane Brown, Michael Camacho, Neil Chan, Liz Cook, Chet DeLong, Steve Demofonte, Alan Eldridge, Andrew Fincher, Paul Fisher, Busa Harold, Jeff Hetcher, Michael Hugel, Chad Jones, Michael Lemley, Amanda Lopez, Jay McDonald, Adam McKilloe, Arthur Morgan, David Mossman, Steve Mullins, Mark Nelson, Mark O’Connor, Wesley Paul, Mike Pianelli, Kenny Rodgers, Charlie Robinson, Neal Rohlting, Andrew Riggott, Richard Sassi, Garland Thompson, Joseph Thivierge, Darcy and Walter Taylor and Ron Wyatt.

Thank you to all of you who bought tickets! Your support of the FOP Foundation is crucial.

Top Priorities in Brief

H.R. 1332/S. 2010, the “Social Security Fairness Act”
House: 162 cosponsors
Senate: 15 cosponsors
H.R. 1789, the “State and Local Law Enforcement Discipline, Accountability, and Due Process Act”
House: 14 cosponsors
Senate: Not yet introduced
H.R. 327/S. 985, the “Federal Law Enforcement Officers’ Equity Act”
House: 18 cosponsors
Senate: 1 cosponsor
H.R. 324, Legislation Giving Certain Federal Law Enforcement Officers Employed by the U.S. Department of Defense Statutory Arrest Authority
House: 22 cosponsors
Senate: Not yet introduced

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