Congress at Work: Enhanced Funding for Shooting Practice and Bulletproof Vests
The Congress at Work series of articles is designed to give you a glimpse of various types of legislation currently under consideration. While either the Senate or the House of Representatives may initiate a bill proposal, be aware that many bills never become law. They may never make it out of committee, be blocked by a Senate filibuster, be delayed, lack sufficient votes, never be agreed upon by the two houses, or be vetoed by the president.
Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act (H.R. 1222) – The Pittman-Robertson Act, passed in 1937, imposes an excise tax on the sale of firearms, archery gear and ammunition. Those proceeds are used to fund hunter education programs, land acquisition and improvement to wildlife habitats. This new bill allocates a higher portion of these federal funds to cover the cost for construction and expansion of public target ranges. The act is designed to encourage states to develop additional shooting ranges for marksmanship training. It was introduced on Feb. 14 by Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), passed in both the House and Senate and was signed into law by the president on May 10.
To Reauthorize the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program (H.R. 2379) – This bill would reauthorize federal funding to help state and local law enforcement agencies purchase bulletproof vests for officers working in the field. It was introduced by Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) on April 29, passed in the House and Senate and is currently waiting to be enacted by the president.
A bill to make technical corrections to the computation of average pay under Public Law 110-279. (S. 1436) – Introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) on May 13, this bill becomes part of the 2008 Public Law that authorized specified Senate Restaurant employees who became employees of a food services contractor the option to continue coverage of federal benefits, including retirement benefits, life and health insurance, annual and sick leave balances and accrual rates, and transit subsidies. This new bill makes technical corrections to the Public Law, which prohibited the basic pay of these employees from dropping below the rate paid to that worker when he was employed by the government. The bill has been passed by both the House and the Senate and is awaiting the president’s signature.
The Equality Act (H.R. 5) – Reintroduced on March 31 by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), this bill prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodation areas and facilities (e.g., restrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms), as well as the education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit and jury systems. It includes gender, sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation. This bill represents the first of its kind to protect LGBT rights and would expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other laws that collectively ban discrimination. The legislation passed in the Democrat-controlled House on May 17, but is not expected to be presented for a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate.
National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2019 (H.R. 2578) – This bill would reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program through September 30 (roughly, the bulk of hurricane season). The present legislation is set to expire on May 31. The bill was introduced by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and passed in the House on May 14. The bill is currently with the Senate.
Gold Star Family Tax Relief Act (S. 1370) – This bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to treat certain military survivor benefits as earned income for purposes of the Child’s Investment and Other Unearned Income Tax (also known as the “kiddie tax”). The legislation was introduced on May 8 by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA). It was passed in the Senate on May 21 and is currently with the House of Representatives.
Alaska Remote Generator Reliability and Protection Act (S. 163) – This bill instructs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to revise regulations regarding particulate matter emissions standards for nonemergency stationary diesel engines in remote areas of Alaska. The objective of the legislation is to prevent the shutdown of remote diesel power engines due to emission control devices. The act, which was introduced on January 17 by Dan Sullivan (R-AK), passed in the Senate on May 20 and is under consideration by the House.
Supporting and Treating Officers In Crisis Act of 2019 (S. 998) – Introduced by Sen. Joshua Hawley (R-MO) on April 3, this bill would amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to expand support for law enforcement officer family services, stress reduction, suicide prevention and other purposes. The bill was passed by the Senate on May 16 and is awaiting consideration in the House.