Protecting SCOTUS, Veterans in Special Circumstances, Disaster Victims, Potential Firearm Victims, and America’s Water Resources

America's Water ResourcesSupreme Court Police Parity Act of 2022 (S 4160) – In response to potential threats and protests outside the homes of Supreme Court judges following a leak of their preliminary judgement on a case related to Roe vs. Wade, this bill authorizes extra security for the justices and their families. Specifically, Supreme Court justices and their families would be provided with security detail similar to that of other top government officials and families in the executive branch (e.g., the president and vice president) and legislative branch (e.g., Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader). This type of detail generally cannot be declined. The bill was introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) on May 5. It passed in both the Senate and the House on June 14 and was signed into law by the president on June 16.

Honoring our PACT Act of 2021 (HR 3967) – Introduced by Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) on June 17, 2021, this bill recently passed in both the House and the Senate, but was returned with changes to the House on June 16. PACT is an acronym for Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxins Act. The bipartisan legislation, with 100 sponsors, would permit veterans who were exposed to burn pit smoke and other environmental hazards that caused cancers and other illnesses during their service, to receive health coverage for those ailments.

Air America Act of 2022 (S 407) – Air America was a government-owned airline deployed between 1950 and 1976 for the purpose of conducting certain covert operations in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. This bill is designed to restore benefits to the employees who worked for Air America during that period. Benefit applications must be filed within two years of the bill’s enactment. This legislation was introduced on Feb. 24, 2021, by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). It passed in the Senate on June 14 and is currently in the House for consideration.

Post-Disaster Assistance Online Accountability Act (HR 2020) – Introduced by Jenniffer González-Colón, Resident Commissioner for Puerto Rico (R-PR) on March 18, 2021, this bill establishes a centralized website to publish information on disaster assistance. The Small Business Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and other federal agencies that provide disaster assistance must submit the following information for publication on a quarterly basis: 1) the total amount of assistance provided by the agency; 2) the amount provided that was disbursed or obligated; and 3) a detailed list of all projects and activities to which assistance was allocated. The bill passed in the House on May 13 and is under consideration in the Senate.

Protecting Our Kids Act (HR 7910) – The bill was introduced by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) on May 31 and passed in the House on June 8. The purpose of this legislation is to ban the sale or transfer of certain semiautomatic firearms to anyone under age 21; establish new federal criminal offenses for gun trafficking; regulate guns that do not have serial numbers (ghost guns); regulate the storage of firearms on residential premises at federal, state and tribal levels; regulate bump stocks under federal firearms laws; and generally prohibit the import, sale, manufacture, transfer and possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices. The bill is currently facing significant challenges in the Senate, where a bipartisan committee is working on an alternative.

Water Resources Development Act of 2022 (HR 1766) – This legislation authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to implement projects associated with water resources development, including water supply and wastewater infrastructure, flood control, navigation and ecosystem/ shoreline restoration. The Act was introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) on May 16. It passed in the House on June 8 and is currently under consideration in the Senate along with other similar bills.