Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, was the sponsor of S. 1132. With the active support of the Judiciary Committee’s Ranking Member, Senator Jefferson B. Sessions III (R-AL), the legislation was favorably reported by that committee in March of this year and passed by unanimous consent in May.
“I want to express my deep appreciation to Chairman Leahy and Majority Leader Hoyer for their commitment to this issue,” Canterbury said. “Both of these gentlemen are FOP champions who worked very hard, first to win passage in the Senate and then to get the bill on the calendar for action in the House before the end of the regular session. They deserve a lot of the credit for today’s victory.”
The House companion bill, H.R. 3752, as introduced by Representative J. Randy Forbes (R-VA) and championed by Representatives Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD), the House Majority Leader, and Lamar S. Smith (R-TX), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee. Representative Robert C. Scott (D-VA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security and an opponent of the original LEOSA, had previously announced his intention to hold the bill in subcommittee, which would have killed the bill for the year. FOP members in his home State and District, as well as continuous contact with the FOP’s Washington staff and personal contact with Chairman Leahy eventually prevailed on Rep. Scott to release the bill for a floor vote.
“Many of our retired officers are facing significant hurdles because some States have failed to implement the law as intended by Congress. This bill, which the President has promised to sign, will help them overcome those obstacles,” Canterbury said.
The bill, which was crafted in large part by the FOP, was given a high priority by the organization. No other law enforcement organizations or police groups took played any role in its successful passage despite intense interest in the bill on the part of active and retired officers. The legislation will improve certain provisions of the Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act (LEOSA), especially with respect to retired law enforcement officers, and will make clear that law enforcement officers employed by the Amtrak and Federal Reserve Police Departments, as well as those employed by the executive branch of the Federal Government who are classified as a GS-0083 branch–especially the U.S. Department of Defense–meet the definition of “qualified law enforcement officer” in current law. The bill would also lower the aggregate years of service needed to meet the definition of “qualified retired law enforcement officer” from fifteen (15) to ten (10) and removes confusing language related to that same definition.
The bill will be transmitted to the President to be signed into law.