CSSA Positions on Federal Legislation – 2016
7/21/16 CSSA Letter to Senator Pat Toomey and Congressman Lamar Smith re CSSA Support of S 1831 and HR 2293, the “Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT) Act.” The bill would amend the federal criminal code to prohibit intentionally engaging in animal crushing in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States. (Current law prohibits knowingly creating or distributing an animal crush video.)
7/18/16 CSSA Letter to Senators Feinstein and Hatch (R-UT)re CSSA Support of S 2348, the “Rapid DNA Act.”Recently developed “Rapid DNA” technology offers great promise in speeding up the timetable for DNA analysis. Rapid DNA devices are self-contained, fully automated instruments that can be placed in a booking station and that can both develop a reference sample profile from a minimally invasive cheek swab and compare the results against existing profiles in less than two hours. S 2348 will update the DNA Identification Act of 1994 to authorize criminal justice agencies using Rapid DNA instruments in conformance with quality assurance standards approved by the FBI to upload profiles generated by such devices to CODIS.
7/18/16 CSSA Letter to Congressman Alcee Hastings re CSSA Support of HR 4201, the “Restoring the Partnership for County Health Care Costs Act.” The bill would remove limitations on Medicaid, Medicare, SSI, and CHIP benefits for persons in custody pending disposition of charges, including local jails. HR 4201 would remove the so-called “inmate exception” that prevents individuals from being eligible for the listed federal benefits while they are in the county jail awaiting trial, even though they have not been convicted of a crime. It is strongly supported by NACo, NSA, and MCSA.
3/3/16 CSSA Letter to Senator Feinstein, Senator Boxer and CA Congressional Delegation re CSSA Support of Byrne JAG and COPS Programs. CSSA expresses its strong support for the Byrne JAG and COPS programs and respectfully request support to maintain funding for the programs in the fiscal year 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bill.
1/19/16 CSSA Letter to Ms. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary-Federal Communications Commission (FCC) re CSSA Comments and Questions Concerning Second Report and Order and Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: WC Docket No. 12-375 Inmate Calling Services (ICS) Relative to Exclusive ICS Contracts in Facilities, Video Calling and Visitation, and International Calling by Inmates.
CSSA Positions on Federal Legislation – 2015
12/31/15 CSSA Letter to US Attorney General Lynch, Senator Feinstein, Senator Boxer and California Congressional Delegation re CSSA Concern and Opposition to $1.2 Billion Rescission to Asset Forfeiture Program.
10/14/15 CSSA Letter to Ms. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary-Federal Communications Commission (FCC) re CSSA Comments Concerning WC Docket No. 12-375 Inmate Calling Services (ICS) and Cost Recovery Related to Cost Recovery for Services Provided by Correctional Facilities in Connection with Such Services.
9/28/15 CSSA Letter to President Obama re Need for Reform of ICE Detention Policies for Criminal Offenders.
7/2/15 CSSA Letter to Senator Feinstein re CSSA Support of S 140 – The Combat Human Trafficking Act. This legislation will strengthen law enforcement efforts to investigate and prosecute all who commit sex trafficking crimes, particularly buyers of sex acts from trafficking victims.
7/2/15 CSSA Letter to Senator Feinstein and Senator Kirk re CSSA Support of S 2536 – The Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation (SAVE) Act. The bill makes provisions to combat Internet sex trafficking. S 2536 makes it unlawful for a person or business entity to use the Internet to sell, commercially promote, or maintain an adult advertisement(s) with reckless disregard of the fact the adult advertisement(s) facilitates or causes a person under 18 years to engage in a commercial sex act under federal or state law. Important provisions in the legislation include: criminal penalties for any person/website who recklessly disregards that an adult advertisement(s) facilitates a person under 18 years to engage in a commercial sex act under federal or state law, targeting websites that are forums for the sale of children for sex, requiring age verification and recordkeeping for adult advertisement, and criminal forfeiture of property used in the crime.
3/19/15 CSSA Letter to Senator Feinstein, Senator Boxer and CA Congressional Delegation re Request to Sign Support Letter for Continued Funding of the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) in FY16. The MIOTCRA program provides state and local governments with resources to plan and implement initiatives for people with mental health care needs involved with the criminal justice system in order to increase public safety, reduce state and local spending, and improve the lives of these individuals and their families.
3/18/15 CSSA Letter to Senator Feinstein, Senator Boxer and CA Congressional Delegation re Request to Sign Support Letter for Byrne JAG and COPS Programs. The COPS Hiring and Byrne JAG programs have enabled law enforcement agencies to continue vital partnerships among communities and law enforcement officers, combat criminal activities, and develop and implement problem-solving and crime prevention programs nationwide. These two programs work hand-in-hand to provide evidence-based and innovative programs that are essential for public safety. We urge you to join your colleagues in signing the letters of support for these critically important programs.
1/20/15 CSSA Letter to Senator Feinstein, Senator Boxer and CA Congressional Delegation re CSSA Support of Long-Term, Sustainable Immigration Reform.
CSSA Positions on Federal Legislation – 2014
December 19, 2014 CSSA Letter to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary – Federal Communications Commission re CSSA Comment on Rates for Interstate Inmate Calling Services – Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (WC Docket No. 12-375). CSSA wrote to provide comment on the Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Second Further Notice) as it relates to reforming inmate calling services (ICS). In short, and with due respect to the Commission’s passion and history on the issue, the path identified by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) (i.e. eliminating site commissions and capping intrastate and interstate calling rates, among other things) is very likely to negatively impact inmates and their chance at rehabilitation while financially and measurably benefiting ICS providers.
12/4/15 CSSA Letter to Senator Feinstein, Senator Boxer and CA Congressional Delegation re CSSA Support for State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) Funding
9/5/15 CSSA Letter to Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy re CSSA Support of the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act
6/17/14 CSSA Letter to Senator Feinstein, Senator Boxer and CA Congressional Delegation re CSSA Opposition to Amendment Prohibiting DOJ from Funding States with Medical Marijuana Laws
6/17/14 CSSA Letter to California Senate and House Members of both Appropriations Committees re Support of Full Funding for Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) Program
4/24/14 CSSA Letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell re Strong Concerns With Proposed Federal Criminal Sentencing Reform.
3/26/14 CSSA Letter to CA Congressional Delegation, Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer re Request to Sign Support Letter for Continued Funding of the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) in FY15.
3/25/14 CSSA Letter to CA Congressional Delegation, Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer re Request to Sign Support Letter for State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP).
3/24/14 CSSA Letter to CA Congressional Delegation, Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer re Request to Sign Support Letter for Byrne JAG and COPS Programs.
2/21/14 CSSA Letter to California Emergency Management Agency Support of the Funding Provided to the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA), on behalf of the State of California, Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Services * Training * Officers * Prosecutors (STOP) Grant Program.
CSSA Positions on Federal Legislation – 2013
12/11/13 CSSA Letter to Federal Communications Commission re Concerns on WC Docket No. 12-375 (Rates for Interstate Inmate Calling Services). The order seriously hampers the ability of California Sheriffs to effectively secure and manage their jails, and fails to consider what is required in a correctional facility to provide telephone use to inmates. CSSA urges the Commission to fully consider the critical public safety aspects of inmate calling services, the individualized environment in which services are offered, and the full impact on safety and security of any particular regulatory approach. If there are abuses of the call rates that are charged, those abuses must be addressed, but not by establishing a “one size fits all” model and intruding on our authority to effectively manage our jail operations.
10/17/13 CSSA Letter to Chair and Ranking Member of Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation re opposition to increases in truck size and weight on California roads.
7/1/13 CSSA Letter to Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) re CSSA’s strong support of the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program and concerns of possible funding reduction or elimination of drug task forces.
5/28/13 CSSA Letter to Office for Victims of Crime – Crime Victim Compensation Program re Initiative Grant OVC-2013-3609. CSSA support for the California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) as they compete for the Office for Victims of Crime 2013 Crime Victim Compensation Program Initiative grant application. CSSA is encouraged to see a grant focused on underserved victims of crime. The grant will provide CalVCP with feedback regarding preferred strategies to increase access, such as enhanced social media networking, web-based training and online access, mobile applications, broad outreach to community based organizations and formalized partnerships to leverage resources. CSSA stands ready to work with CalVCP to further the cause of public safety and serving victims of crime.
5/7/13 CSSA Letter to Board of State and Community Corrections re Strong Support of Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program.
4/24/13 CSSA Letter to Senators Feinstein and Boxer re Request to Sign Support Letter for Byrne JAG Program.
4/19/13 CSSA Letter to California Emergency Management Agency Support of the Funding Provided to the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA), on behalf of the State of California, Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Services * Training * Officers * Prosecutors (STOP) Grant Program.
4/11/13 CSSA Letter to Senators Feinstein and Boxer re Request to Sign Support Letter for SCAAP Program.
4/4/13 CSSA Letter to California Congressional Delegation, Senators Feinstein and Boxer re Request to Sign Support Letter for Byrne JAG and COPS Programs.
3/22/13 CSSA Letter to Federal Communications Commission 47 CFR Part 64 [WC Docket No. 12–375; FCC 12–167] re Rates for Interstate Inmate Calling Services. CSSA opposition and concerns regarding the WC Docket No. 12–375 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding rates for inmate calling services. Regulation of inmate telephone service systems by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would seriously hamper the ability of California Sheriffs to effectively secure and manage their jails.
2/7/13 CSSA Letter to Vice President Joe Biden reschool shooting tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. As the chief law enforcement officers in our respective counties, it is our duty to protect the members of our communities and preserve individual rights and freedoms. It is the position of CSSA, in accordance with the Constitution of the United States and the statutes of the State of California, that law-abiding persons who meet the established requirements have the right to acquire, own, possess, use, keep and bear firearms. This right shall not be infringed. In support of our mission to advance public safety, we understand the desire to have a national dialogue on effective ways to prevent gun violence.
CSSA Positions on Federal Legislation – 2012
11/8/12 CSSA Letter to Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense; Senator Dianne Feinstein, Member, Senate Subcommittee on Defense; General Frank J. Grass, Chief, National Guard Bureau; Major General David S. Baldwin, Adjutant General, California National Guard re CSSA Support of California National Guard Counter Drug Program.
10/17/12 CSSA Letter to California Congressional Delegation, Senators Feinstein, Boxer re Request to Senator Barbara Mikulski, CJS Subcommittee Chair; U. S. Representative Frank Wolf, CJS Subcommittee Chair. CSSA request that their offices immediately contact the Department of Justice (DOJ) to request reconsideration of DOJ’s decision to withhold over $28 million of the FY 2012 SCAAP funds allocated by Congress, diverting them to other programs or calling them “administrative” expenses. Earlier this week, DOJ posted the FY 2012 SCAAP reimbursements. CSSA is very concerned to see that funding for California dropped from $96.4 million in FY 11 to $72.9 million in FY 12, which represents a 24% reduction.
10/11/12 CSSA Letter to Senator Joe Lieberman, Chairman and Senator Susan Collins, Ranking Member – U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs; and Senators Tom Coburn and Carl Levine, Members, U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs re CSSA full support of the nation’s fusion centers and the key role they play in the national counterterrorism effort.
6/25/12 CSSA Letter to the United States Attorney General Eric Holder re Law Enforcement and Public Safety Issues of Concern:
- CSSA Urges Reverse of DOJ Decision re SCAAP and “Unknown Inmates.”
- CSSA Urges Funding of SCAAP at the FY 2012 level of $240 Million.
- CSSA Urges Continued Funding of the Byrne JAG Program and Protection From Further Cuts.
- CSSA Concerns re U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Proposed Rule Changes To The Code Of Federal Regulation 36 (CFR) 262, 261 and 212 on July 15, 2011.
6/5/12 CSSA Letter to Senator Boxer re CSSA opposition to increases in truck size and weight on our roads. We very much appreciate your leadership and support on this issue as Congress works towards reauthorizing the transportation bill.
5/29/12 CSSA Letter to California Congressional Delegation, Senators Feinstein and Boxer re CSSA urging immediate help in reversing a decision by the Department of Justice (DOJ) that will cripple the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) and place a significant financial hardship on California jails. The Department of Justice announced a change in the SCAAP program on May 23, 2012 that will prohibit SCAAP funds from being used to reimburse localities for foreign-born criminal aliens housed in their jails that have been classified as “unknown inmates” by ICE. This ill-advised programmatic change would dramatically weaken SCAAP by limiting payment strictly to “known” inmates that are presently in ICE’s computer database. It should also be noted that DOJ did not follow established procedures for making changes to the SCAAP program, thus calling into question the validity of the change.
3/19/12 CSSA Letters to Congressmen Honda and Schiff re Urge Continued Funding of Byrne JAG Grants and Protection from Further Cuts.
3/13/12 CSSA Letters to Chairs and Ranking Members of House Committee on Appropriations and House Sub-Committee on Commerce, Justice and Science re Urge Funding of SCAAP at the FY Level of $240 Million.
2/27/12 CSSA Letter to CalEMA re Support of Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Program Funding.
CSSA Positions on Federal Legislation – 2011
12/16/11 CSSA Letter to US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack re Concern and With USFS Law Enforcement Proposed Rule Changes and Opposition to Any Effort to Infringe on the Authority of the Elected Sheriff.
12/5/11 CSSA Letter to California Senators and Congressional Representatives re Opposition to Proposed Increase in Truck Size and Weight Included in the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act.
10/21/11 CSSA Letter to California Senators and Congressional Representatives re Opposition to HR 822 (Stearns, R-FL) The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011.
9/30/11 State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) – CSSA Strong Support for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) – Urge Full Funding of $950 Million for Program.
5/8/11 State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) – CSSA Strong Support for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) – Urge Full Funding of $950 Million for Program.
4/4/11 CSSA Letter to United States Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr., c/o Robert Hinchman, Senior Counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice re Docket No. OAG-131; AG Order No. 3143-2010 – National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape. Comments submitted to the Federal Register regarding the proposed national standards for the prevention, detection, response, and monitoring of sexual abuse developed by the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission (NPREC).
California State Sheriffs have extensive experience in identifying and surmounting the many challenges that come with effectively implementing policies and programs in a variety of local criminal justice systems and diverse legal, structural, geographic and political contexts. It is with these unique experiences that we offer the following collective comments, intended to assist the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in promulgating standards and pursuing implementation strategies to effectively guide states and localities in adopting and improving policies and practices to keep the incarcerated population safe from sexual abuse and trauma, and hold systems accountable when they fail to do so. Our recommendations are summarized as follows:
I. Provide adequate funding to support PREA mandates for: Inmate education, the use of technology, mandated staff training, on-going medical and mental health care for sexual abuse victims and abusers, surveillance equipment; training costs; data collection; analysis storage; and dissemination.
II. Re-define the auditing process guidelines, and make considerations regarding how the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Standards interface with other existing State and Federal Mandates, to avoid a duplication of efforts, eliminate subjective standards and minimize costs.
III. Tailor the standards to better account for the wide variety of correctional facilities that exist throughout the country.
3/8/11 State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) – CSSA Strong Support for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) – Urge Full Funding of $950 Million for Program. Letter sent to California Congressional Delegation.
1/20/11 CSSA Letter to Congressional Representatives re Urge Continued Funding of the Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification (SAVIN) Grant Program.
CSSA Positions on Federal Legislation – 2010
9/21/10 CSSA Letter to Senators Feinstein and Boxer Requesting Co-Sponsorship of S 3756 (Rockefeller), the Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act. S 3756 would mandate that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allocate the D Block to public safety (rather than auctioning it) for the creation of a national public safety interoperable mobile broadband network; as well as providing the framework and funding necessary to build the broadband network. CSSA, in concert with the National Sheriffs’ Association and other major public safety, state and local government, and industry organizations are supporting S 3756 to move forward with build out and maintenance of a nationwide public safety broadband network.
The network would provide public safety agencies access to new broadband technologies and facilitate effective communications among first responders not only in emergencies, but as part of cooperative communications plans; thereby, enabling first responders from different disciplines, such as law enforcement and fire departments, and jurisdictions to work together in emergency preparedness and response across the country.
9/21/10 CSSA Support of HR 5081, the Broadband for First Responders Act of 2010. HR 5081 is essential as it will enable the public safety community to develop and implement a nationwide public safety interoperable mobile broadband network, necessary for securing and defending the United States. The bill will require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allocate the 10MHz of the 700MHz spectrum, known as the D Block, for use by public safety. The D Block will then be added to the current 10MHz available to public safety, providing a total of 20MHz of continual spectrum. The increased spectrum will provide the foundation to create a strong nationwide public safety interoperable mobile broadband network.
7/19/10 CSSA Letter to Congressmen Pastor and Dorgan re CSSA Concerns Regarding HR 725 / S 797 – The Tribal Law and Order Act of 2009. While most aspects of the legislation do not appear problematic, the proposed access by tribal police to national criminal information databases, specifically the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS) raises an important issue.
In California, tribal police officers are not California peace officers and therefore are prohibited from access to our California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System or CLETS. CLETS is the repository for California's criminal history data accessible only to California law enforcement officers and their agencies. Since CLETS information is contained within NLETS, the federal government is, through this legislation, providing national access to secure and restricted information to tribal police officers that they are not entitled to under California law.
CSSA is supportive of the efforts by the federal government as contained in HR 725 / S 797 to enhance the professionalism and authority of tribal police to enforce federal laws (tribal police holding a Special Law Enforcement Commission) on the Indian Lands located within the state of California. Since California is a Public Law 280 state, jurisdiction over the investigation of state crimes committed on Indian Land rests with the state. In California's case, that generally means jurisdiction of the local sheriff within whose jurisdiction the Indian Lands reside. We respectfully urge review and consideration of the bill’s impact as it relates to PL 280 states.
5/10/10 CSSA Letter to Robert Hinchman, Senior Counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice re CSSA Concerns Regarding Docket No. OAG-131 - Comments on Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Standards. CSSA again reviewed the proposed standards for Adult Prisons, Jails, and Supplemental Standards for Facilities Holding Immigration Detainees under PREA. CSSA has previously stated its concerns regarding the proposals and the letter is provided to reiterate and reinforce those concerns as well as support the National Sheriffs’ Association’s position of grave concern on this matter.
California Sheriffs are the chief law enforcement officer of their respective counties and are responsible for the county jails. Sheriffs recognize the critical issues related to sexual assaults of inmates while incarcerated and understand the gravity imposed by Congress in enacting this legislation. Furthermore, Sheriffs strongly agree that sexual misconduct has no place in a professionally and morally run correctional environment.
However, the proposed standards as written must be modified or in some cases eliminated altogether, to prevent significant costs and operational difficulties for local detention facilities. The most problematic concern is the exorbitant costs of complying with the proposed standards / mandates. These costs conflict with the Congressional mandate to ensure that the regulations do not impose substantial economic costs on local government. In these very difficult economic times, numerous government agencies find themselves fiscally unable to comply with many of these standards, more so now than at any other time in recent history.
We find that the standards fail to recognize the different roles of county jails and state and federal prisons and many of the proposed standards are unclear because of the assumption that jails and prisons operate in the same manner. California Sheriffs have been and continue to be committed to safe and secure jail facilities for our inmates and staff. While we fully understand the importance and necessity for these critical guidelines, it is imperative that such guidelines to eliminate prison rape are reasonable, appropriately applicable and that funding is provided to comply and implement such standards within our local jails. CSSA strongly urges consideration in revising and creating reasonable standards / mandates that are necessary, cost effective, measurable and funded, to ensure that all correctional facilities are engaging in best practices in the pursuit of eliminating sexual abuse in correctional settings.
3/12/10 CSSA Support of CODIS Access to Accredited Laboratories and Increased Capacity for State and Local Crime Laboratories. Letter sent to CA members of Senate and House Judiciary Committees. CSSA informs of its support of the statement released by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD) on February 24, 2010 to maintain Convicted Offender DNA Index System (CODIS) access with accredited public crime laboratories and to request your support of legislation to increase the capacity of state and local crime laboratories. CSSA advises of the recently released recommendation by ASCLD to recommend the uploading of DNA profiles in the CODIS system only by accredited public crime laboratories. As with any powerful tool, NDIS, the National DNA Index System must be carefully managed to maintain the high level of confidence that it has established since its creation over ten years ago. By retaining the current access restriction to accredited public crime laboratories, the confidence in the integrity and quality of the national DNA database will be maintained.
3/10/10 CSSA Urges Support to Fully Fund the Western States Information Network (WSIN). Letter sent to key members of Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies. In California, the Western States Information Network (WSIN) RISS Center provides investigative support services to 727 law enforcement and criminal justice agencies representing over 20,837 sworn personnel. The services provided by WSIN have been integrated throughout the law enforcement and public safety communities at all levels in California. RISS’s programs and services includes information sharing through the RISS Secure Intranet (RISSNET), analytical support, investigative equipment loans, confidential funds, field staff support, technical assistance, training, research, publications development, and the RISSafe officer safety event deconfliction program. The President’s FY2011 Budget addresses the need to support state and local law enforcement efforts, crime-fighting tools, and national security. Yet, the budget allocation for RISS – a central component to support these initiatives – is $9 million, a reduction of $36 million from FY2010. If a reduction of this magnitude occurs, it will have profound effects on our criminal justice community and will cripple the ability for RISS to provide its critical services to law enforcement and public safety agencies in California.
2/24/10 CSSA Support of Funding for Critical Law Enforcement Programs in 2011 Budget. Letter sent to entire CA Delegation. CSSA requests support and assistance in ensuring the continuation of funding for critical law enforcement programs, particularly the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) and Byrne JAG program, in the 2011 budget. The President has provided $330 million for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program. While this is far below an appropriate level, the fact that funding has been proposed by the president sends a strong message that states have made compelling arguments regarding the unfunded costs associated with the incarceration of undocumented immigrants. We estimate that California will spend nearly $1 billion to incarcerate these individuals, but we only receive less than 10 percent from the federal Department of Justice for these costs. For every dollar our state spends to incarcerate undocumented criminals, we receive about one dime in return. California should not bear this burden. Full funding must be provided for this federal responsibility.
With respect to the Byrne/JAG program, it is unique among federal programs in enabling and encouraging cross-jurisdictional solutions to preventing and fighting crime. This program has allowed states and our local law enforcement partners an opportunity to innovate in a way that other funding, which flows through programmatic “silos,” often does not allow. Simply put, a cut to Byrne/JAG is a cut to local law enforcement. At least 75 percent of every Byrne/JAG dollar goes directly to local sheriffs and police departments. The remaining is used to support drug interdiction, substance abuse prevention and treatment, crime victim support programs, community corrections, rehabilitation, offender re-entry and juvenile justice programs. Byrne is also the only source of federal funding for the multi-jurisdictional drug task forces.
2/18/10 CSSA Support of $10 million for the Pegasus Program within the House Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill for FY 2011. Letter sent to entire CA Delegation. CSSA requests inclusion of $10 million for the Pegasus Program within the House Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill for FY 2011. Such funding will enable the Pegasus Program to continue to facilitate the Local-To-Local information sharing of Sheriff’s Offices and other law enforcement agencies nationwide.
The Pegasus Program is the only nationwide plan for local law enforcement data exchange. Initiated by the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) prior to 9/11, and led by Congress as a nationwide local law enforcement initiative since 2001, the Nationwide Pegasus Program serves regional and nationwide information sharing needs of law enforcement. Pegasus focuses on cost-effectively providing rural and non-urban agencies access to local agencies data nationwide, and uses internet and high-security biometric technologies to enable information data exchange.
CSSA Positions on Federal Legislation – 2009
12/18/09 CSSA Support of Funding Provided to the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA), on Behalf of the State of California, Under The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Services*Training*Officers*Prosecutors (STOP) Grant Program. CSSA has been a long-standing supporter of the program. It has proven to be an important and positive effort to reduce violent crimes against women
10/14/09 CSSA Support of HR 1618 – The Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act and CSSA Urge Oppose to HR 1799 – The Safe and Efficient Transportation Act. Letter sent to Senators Feinstein and Boxer, and key CA Congressional Members. CSSA has written previously to express support for the Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act (HR 1618), which will maintain current weight limits of trucks traveling our highways. In light of new legislation being considered that will increase the size of heavy trucks -- the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act (HR 1799), CSSA reiterates its support for HR 1618 and its opposition to HR 1799.
9/2/2009 CSSA Strong Concern Regarding Award Results of 2009 COPS Hiring Recovery Program (CHRP). $1 billion was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5) for CHRP to hire or retain law enforcement officers for the next 3 years. The CHRP grant awards announced on July 28, showed that out of the 7,272 total number of agencies that applied ($8.3 billion in funds requested for nearly 40,000 officers), only 1,046 agencies were awarded funds (3,818 officers funded). In addition, the award results showed a disproportionate allocation of funds between municipal and county law enforcement. Of the 1,203 sheriffs that applied, only 77 (6.4%) received funding compared to 5,440 applications from police, which received 909 awards (16.7%). Meaning, under the current methodology, sheriffs/counties were three times less likely to receive funding compared to police/municipalities. CSSA requests support and assistance to contact the Department of Justice and the COPS Office, to urge them to reassess and make necessary revisions to the methodology used for determining COPS Hiring grant awards to ensure that future grants are proportionately distributed among municipalities and counties.
7/27/09 HR 1201 (Salazar) Air Medical Safety Act: CSSA Opposed Unless Amended. As introduced 2/25/09, the This bill would require a pilot of an aircraft providing emergency medical services, whenever there is a medical crew on board, regardless of whether there are patients on board, to comply with federal safety operating requirements governing commuter and on-demand operations as well as persons on board aircraft. The problem with this legislation is that it adversely affects public safety EMS helicopters, which have not had these safety problems. If passed, the bill would place a huge financial burden on Sheriffs with no funding allocated to cover the additional costs. In addition, HR 1201 if passed, would place flight restrictions on Sheriffs’ rescue aircraft that would hinder operations and place the public in danger. This is a critical issue for public safety, not only in California, but around our nation. Our air rescue personnel are highly trained to conduct all types of rescues and are EMS/paramedic trained to administer the proper care to the victim once they are rescued. We respectfully request that there be a public safety exemption amended into the bill to allow law enforcement to continue this lifesaving work.
6/23/09 (Boxer) Draft Legislation “Enhanced Violent Crime Community Policing Act of 2009” – CSSA Support in Concept with Request for Amendments. The legislation would create demonstration grants for a three-year period to increase law enforcement by 5 to 10 percent in high violent crime areas in cities and metropolitan areas. Request for amendments: 1) A law enforcement representative (i.e., from the National Sheriffs’ Association) to be included as a member of the committee or advisory group that will review and determine which agencies will receive grants and; 2) Clarifying language to ensure that counties are included within the definition of metropolitan areas.
6/23/09 HR 1618 (McGovern-MA) Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act (SHIPA) – CSSA Support. This legislation will establish a set standard for the size and weight of trucks on our highways. CSSA is aware of efforts to allow larger and longer trucks on our highways. These efforts include allowing heavier single trailer trucks as well as double and triple trailer trucks that currently are not allowed on California’s highways. With the number of vehicles currently traveling on our roadways, to allow larger and heavier trucks would create a significant public safety concern. Additional weight and length on a trailer truck means an even longer stopping distance is needed. California has already seen the devastating results of crashes involving trailer trucks at their current weight and length. It would be ill-advised to consider adding larger and longer trucks to our roads.
HR 1618 keeps in place reasonable weight limits and extends them beyond the Interstate system to the entire National Highway System. The bill also freezes the length of trucks at 53 feet and of particular importance to California, the legislation restricts the operation of longer combination vehicles to the states they are currently allowed.
6/15/09 State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) – CSSA Strong Support for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) – Urge Full Funding of $950 Million for Program. Letter sent to California Congressional Delegation.
6/15/09 HR 1133 (Rush-IL) “Family Telephone Connection Protection Act of 2009” – CSSA Opposed. The Act would require the Federal Communications Commission to prescribe unreasonable and restrictive requirements in order to provide telephone services to inmates, which would seriously hamper the ability of California Sheriffs to effectively secure and manage their jails.
5/5/09 S 132 (Feinstein) Gang Abatement and Prevention Act of 2009 – CSSA Support. S 132 provides a comprehensive approach to the problem of violence by criminal street gangs.
S 132 would create a national strategy to identify, apprehend, and prosecute gangs. The bill also includes important prevention and intervention provisions to implement and enhance programs designed to help gang-involved youth find an alternative to a life of crime. In addition, it would help facilitate the cooperation between local, state and federal law enforcement in identifying, targeting and eliminating violent gangs in areas where gang activity is particularly prevalent through the designation of High Intensity Gang Activity Areas.
The measure also provides strong enforcement measures to address dealing with highly organized, violent gangs and the rising numbers of gang crimes across the country. The growing complexity of the interrelated problems of gangs, drugs and gun crime in America urgently calls for the multifaceted approach delineated in this legislation.
5/1/09 S 251 (Hutchinson) Safe Prisons Communications Act of 2009 – CSSA Support. S 251 will help impede the illegal use of contraband cellular phones by prison and jail inmates. This Act will amend the Federal Communications Act of 1934 to allow cell phone signals to be jammed within correctional facilities.
In recent years, the number of contraband cell phones smuggled into correctional facilities has sky-rocketed and become a tremendous public safety issue. In some states, the number of cell phones confiscated has doubled over the past two years, while in others, smugglers are using brazen tactics such as slingshots to get cell phones into the hands of individuals behind prison fences. Once in possession of a cell phone, incarcerated individuals have the opportunity to conduct any number of crimes, ranging from intimidating witnesses, harassing victims, threatening elected officials, and engaging in gang activity. Although new technologies are being developed to detect and locate cell phones, only cell jamming technologies stop these dangerous phone calls. State and local corrections agencies should be able to go through the same process that federal agencies do and petition for a waiver. CSSA believes this legislation is a fundamental step in addressing a significant public safety issue.
5/1/09 HR 978 (Altmire) Helicopter Medical Services Patient Safety, Protection, and Coordination Act – CSSA Opposed. The legislation has great potential to harm the Sheriffs’ departments that have air rescue / air ambulance operations by allowing state medical authorities to regulate air ambulance aviation operations. HR 978 would exempt states from many of the federal regulations relative to air ambulances operations and will create the potential for states and their subparts to enact any number of regulations that would severely restrict or eliminate public aircraft from flying patients from emergency events to hospitals. The provisions of HR 978 will diminish federal aviation authorities’ ability to provide appropriate and knowledgeable nationwide oversight in the air ambulance arena while transferring the authority for such oversight to non-aviation state and local medical authorities. This will potentially create a lower level of aviation safety and cause a patchwork of local regulations and restrictions. Aviation regulations and standards should be consistent across the nation, not constantly changing at state or county borders.
4/29/09 S 132 (Feinstein) Gang Abatement and Prevention Act of 2009: CSSA Support. S 132 will provide a comprehensive approach to the problem of violence by criminal street gangs. The bill would create a national strategy to identify, apprehend, and prosecute gangs. The legislation also includes important prevention and intervention provisions to implement and enhance programs designed to help gang-involved youth find an alternative to a life of crime. In addition, it would help facilitate the cooperation between local, state and federal law enforcement in identifying, targeting and eliminating violent gangs in areas where gang activity is particularly prevalent through the designation of High Intensity Gang Activity Areas.
4/27/09 CSSA working to effect a legislative change that will facilitate improved information sharing between local and federal criminal justice agencies. Letter to National Sheriffs’ Association. CSSA is working with its law enforcement partners to move a statewide information sharing system forward. In order to successfully negotiate an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for information sharing with the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the U.S. DOJ Law Enforcement Information Sharing Program (LEISP), there must be language specific to mutual indemnification. The U.S. Department of Justice (through the Attorney General’s Office) advises it is unable to agree to such provisions as they would be in violation of the Adequacy of Appropriations Act, 41 U.S.C. S11 and the Anti-Deficiency Act, 31 U.S. C. S1341(a)(1). In essence, those acts prevent federal government agencies from engaging in agreements involving indemnification unless Congress appropriates funding for any resulting costs associated with that indemnification. The codes and case decisions that appear to evolve from them generally stem from contracts and procurements for property by various branches of the federal government and do not pertain to information sharing between legitimate law enforcement agencies. As a result, it is apparent that an amendment to those statutes is appropriate to place them in proper context and to eliminate the objection by the Attorney General’s Office from approving an IGA/MOU that calls for such indemnification.
2/19/09 Letter of support re funding for the Second Chance Act for FY 2010. The Second Chance Act, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in April 2008, will help our communities better address the growing population of individuals returning from prisons and jails. The Second Chance Act, a grant program for reentry of offenders into the community and improvements of reentry planning and implementation, is a common sense response to improve outcomes for people released from prisons and jails and returning to our communities.
2/13/09 CSSA Request re California Local Law Enforcement Needs. Letter to Senator Feinstein. CSSA request for strong consideration and support of infrastructure funding for California jail and prison facilities. California Sheriffs are in critical need of additional jail space. Thirty-two of California’s 58 counties are under either a court-ordered or self-imposed population cap. Although our population has grown substantially over the years, our correctional facilities have not expanded, and overcrowding at both the local and state level is an ongoing problem. In 2007 California passed AB 900, legislation that authorized the construction or renovation of jail facilities and prison re-entry facilities along with programs and programming space to help prisoners transition back into society when they completed their sentences. California now has a number of projects that are “shovel-ready” that would benefit from investment of federal infrastructure moneys. That funding could be put to good use for jail space that would result in better facilities for staff and inmates and create better environments in which to improve re-entry.