NAPO Washington Reports

NAPO Victory! U.S. House of Representatives passes National Blue Alert Bill!

May 7, 2013

Today, NAPO attended a House Committee on the Judiciary markup session, where the House Judiciary Committee approved, by voice vote, a bill to create a national blue-alert system (H.R. 180) that would notify authorities when a police officer is injured or killed while on duty. During the markup session, Chairman Goodlatte explained that a law enforcement officer in the United States is killed in the line of duty every 57 hours. He stressed that this bill helps to reverse that trend when police officers and the public join forces to capture fleeing suspects. Chairman Goodlatte also publically recognized NAPO as a supporter of this legislation, and confirmed that NAPO's written statement of support was submitted for the record.

Additionally, the panel backed a draft resolution, by voice vote, to establish a bipartisan Judiciary Committee task force on over-criminalization in order to identify excessive or redundant criminal penalties in the U.S. Code. Committee members noted that there are an estimated 4,500 federal crimes in the U.S. Code, many of which address conduct also regulated by the states. Moreover, the expansion of the federal code has led to increased federal regulations, often which impose criminal penalties without requiring that criminal intent be shown to establish guilt. This task force will look at the laws on the books to make sure Americans who make innocent mistakes are not charged with criminal offenses.

The task force will conduct hearings and investigations, and issue a report on over-criminalization in the federal code. The task force will be authorized for six months, and will be led by Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner and Ranking Member Bobby Scott. The bipartisan task force will make recommendations to the House Judiciary Committee on how to improve our federal criminal statutes.