Glenn Ivey (Courtesy photo)
Glenn Ivey (Courtesy photo)

On May 15, House Judiciary Committee members Glenn Ivey (D-Md.) and Wesley Hunt (R-Texas) introduced the Recruit and Retain Act in Congress.

This bill, supported by a variety of law enforcement organizations including the Fraternal Order of Police, aims to increase the number of new and qualified law enforcement recruits by reducing application and recruiting costs associated with finding new talent.

Proposed programming for the legislation includes the creation of a pipeline partnership between law enforcement agencies and local educational institutions. The act will also create new guidance for federal grants for understaffed law enforcement agencies, and directs a comprehensive Government Accountability Office to study recruitment and retention trends and challenges for federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

“Recruiting and retaining highly trained law enforcement professionals is of the utmost importance. Our ability to attract and develop the best, brightest and most compassionate and dedicated men and women of differing backgrounds is vital to the health and well-being of our nation,” Ivey said. “Keeping our residents safe and promoting better relations with our citizenry can only lead to safer streets and better policing.  I look forward to working with all who care about our country and a path forward for good law enforcement standards.  We must incentivize hiring and keeping the people who will do the job of safeguarding us from the border to Broadway and everywhere in between.” 

Ivey is also co-sponsoring the Safe Access to Cash Act alongside Georgia Democrat Hank Johnson to increase penalties on ATM bandits and grant the same benefits to ATMs as are granted to traditional banks.

“This bipartisan legislation is an important common sense first step to combatting smash-and-grab robberies of convenience store ATMs.  These crimes impact small businesses.  These crimes affect underserved communities.  This bill makes it a federal crime to rob ATMs, their customers, and servicers as it would be to do the crime at a bank,” Rep. Ivey explained. “Prince George’s County residents and Marylanders generally deserve the protection and investigative powers of federal agencies like the FBI and Secret Service for these kinds of financial crimes.”

Ivey Favors Granting Temporary Protected Status for African Migrants

On May 25, advocates continued their call for the Biden administration to designate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for immigrants from several African nations. TPS designations would allow refugees from Mali, Mauritania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and Sudan easier access to the United States. According to the Council for Foreign Relations, TPS status was extended for the first time to migrants from Afghanistan, Cameroon, Ethiopia and Ukraine in 2022.

“TPS is critical for countries in Africa like Cameroon and Nigeria among others. We must treat those fleeing war and political violence from African countries in the same way we have welcomed those from Ukraine. Our country has been made stronger by the innovation, ingenuity, and entrepreneurial efforts of African immigrants. I join leaders of ACT in asking the administration to reinstate, implement or otherwise grant TPS to the countries highlighted in today’s roundtable,” said Rep. Glenn Ivey (MD-04).

“Facing violence, instability, and disasters, it is clear that multiple African countries meet the necessary conditions for TPS and other protections,” said Diana Konaté, policy director with African Communities Together (ACT). “Moreover, offering protection to our brothers and sisters is just the right thing to do.”

“Extensive and protracted armed conflict mean that Nigeria is facing an extraordinary level of insecurity,” said Gbenga Ogunjimi, founder and CEO of Nigerian Center Inc. “Unfortunately, the conflict has recently escalated, leading to unprecedented levels of insecurity in Nigeria. The time to take action is now.”

Van Hollen Sponsors Bill to Bolster Employee Ownership

On May 16, Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) joined Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) and Reps. Dean Phillips (D- Minn.) and Blake Moore (R-Utah) to introduce the Employee Equity Investment Act.

The bill aims to make it easier for private companies to transfer ownership of the business to their employees during mergers or sales, which provides additional wealth-creation opportunities for American workers. By changing a Small Business Administration (SBA) program, a new type of investment fund will be created to bolster businesses with employee ownership. 

Several legislators from both parties, particularly from the Midwest, are in support of this legislation.

“American workers are the true power behind our economy. By investing in employee ownership, we’re investing in our workers and putting more of their hard-earned dollars back in their pockets, instead of sending U.S. profits overseas. This bipartisan bill will offer up-for-sale businesses the tools to transition to employee ownership – empowering workers and keeping jobs and opportunity here at home,” said Senator Van Hollen.

Business organizations were also present to show their support, such as the National Association of Women Business Owners, National Cooperative Business Association and the Employee-Owned Contractors Roundtable.

“The Employee Equity Investment Act (EEIA) is essential to unlocking opportunity and wealth creation for women business owners,” said Lisa Coppola, the National Advocacy Committee chair for the National Association of Women Business Owners. “The EEIA will provide a financing mechanism by which retiring women owners of successful businesses can ‘cash out’ and sell it to their workers, sustaining their legacy and growing the economy.”

“We thank Senators Van Hollen, Rubio, Baldwin, Young, Shaheen, and Braun and Representatives Phillips, Moore, Houlahan, and Johnson for their bicameral, bipartisan leadership to introduce the EEIA,” Coppola continued.

Congressional Delegation Displays Federal Funding for Prince George’s

On the morning of May 19, Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D) and Ben Cardin (D) and Congressman Steny Hoyer (D) joined Prince George’s Community College President Dr. Falecia D. Williams to announce how they were commemorating National Nurses Appreciation Month: $971,000 in federal funding to support the expansion of PGCC’s nursing program.

These funds aim to address the nursing shortage in the region and prepare future nurses for the ever-changing health care field with technology and training.

Members of Maryland’s congressional delegation, including Rep. Steny Hoyer and Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, present $971,000 in federal funding to Prince George's Community College to expand the college’s nursing program on May 19. (Courtesy of Van Hollen's office)
Members of Maryland’s congressional delegation, including Rep. Steny Hoyer and Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, present $971,000 in federal funding to Prince George’s Community College to expand the college’s nursing program on May 19. (Courtesy of Van Hollen’s office)

That same day, the group presented Bowie Mayor Tim Adams (D) with $1.7 million for improvements to Bowie’s Allen Pond Park. Senator Cardin secured this funding as part of this year’s budget.” 

“These are competitive funds and to get this kind of support for Allen Pond Park is wonderful,” said Cardin. “It will be a great asset to the community and it will help not just the residents, but the whole region. I’m proud that Team Maryland was able to deliver this important investment in Bowie.”

“Allen Pond is a unique recreational area that serves the state and the surrounding areas,” said Adams. “It’s a jewel for us.” Adams thanked the congressional leadership for their role and assistance in Bowie.

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