President Joe Biden signed three pieces of bipartisan legislation into law on Thursday in support of police officers, the law enforcement community, and federal officials.
The president signed into law S. 1511, the "Protecting America’s First Responders Act of 2021," S. 1502, the "Confidentiality Opportunities for Peer Support Counseling Act or the COPS Counseling Act," and S. 921, the "Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Federal Officers and Employees Protection Act," Fox News reports.
The "Protecting America’s First Responders Act of 2021," authored by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, would better ensure that law enforcement and first responders who are disabled in the line of duty have prompt access to benefits.
The "Confidentiality Opportunities for Peer Support Counseling Act" or the "COPS Counseling Act" sets requirements for peer support counseling programs to be provided by a law enforcement agency.
That bill, authored by Grassley, and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., would provide confidentiality to federal law enforcement officers who use peer counseling services, while excepting admissions of criminal conduct or threats of serious physical harm. The bill would also encourage first responder agencies to adopt peer counseling programs by requiring the DOJ to make best practices publicly available on its website and to provide a list of training programs for individuals to become peer support mentors.
The "Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Federal Officers and Employees Protection Act" was led by Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, and Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware. The bill was cosponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Josh Hawley, R-Mo. Grassley joined his Senate colleagues in supporting the legislation.
The bill ensures that individuals who have killed or attempted to kill U.S. federal officers and employees serving abroad can be brought to justice and prosecuted in the United States.