May 09 2019

Judiciary Committee Advances Bills to Support First Responders

WASHINGTON – Today the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously sent three bills to the Senate floor to provide safety resources and mental health support for first responders.

“As we approach Police Week, I appreciate my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee for advancing these important bills. First responders and public safety officers face greater threats to their safety every day,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina).  “Whether it’s making sure a local police department can purchase lifesaving bulletproof vests, authorizing funding for critical mental health programs or ensuring access to benefits for first responders injured in the line of duty, we must protect those who protect us.”

Background on the legislation:

The Supporting and Treating Officers in Crisis Act of 2019 (S. 998) provides grant funding for law enforcement family-support services, as well as permits recipients to establish mental health services such as suicide-prevention programs for law enforcement officers. 

The Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization (S. 1231) permanently reauthorizes the Patrick Leahy Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant program, which allows state and local law enforcement agencies to purchase lifesaving bulletproof vests for officers working in the field.

The Protecting America’s First Responder’s Act (S. 1208) allows the Justice Department to provide benefits to first responders by updating vague definitions in the Public Safety Officer’s Benefits program that may be leading to delayed or inconsistent adjudication of disability claims for first responders.