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112th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     112-548

======================================================================



 
       PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS' BENEFITS IMPROVEMENTS ACT OF 2012

                                _______
                                

 June 25, 2012.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Smith of Texas, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 4018]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 4018) to improve the Public Safety Officers' 
Benefits Program, having considered the same, reports favorably 
thereon with an amendment and recommends that the bill as 
amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
The Amendment....................................................     1
Purpose and Summary..............................................     5
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     6
Hearings.........................................................     9
Committee Consideration..........................................     9
Committee Votes..................................................     9
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     9
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     9
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     9
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................    11
Advisory on Earmarks.............................................    11
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................    11
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............    17

                             The Amendment

    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This title may be cited as the ``Public Safety Officers' Benefits 
Improvements Act of 2012''.

SEC. 2. BENEFITS FOR CERTAIN NONPROFIT EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE 
                    PROVIDERS; MISCELLANEOUS AMENDMENTS.

  (a) In General.--Title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe 
Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3711 et seq.) is amended--
          (1) in section 901(a) (42 U.S.C. 3791(a))--
                  (A) in paragraph (26), by striking ``and'' at the 
                end;
                  (B) in paragraph (27), by striking the period at the 
                end and inserting ``; and''; and
                  (C) by adding at the end the following:
          ``(28) the term `hearing examiner' includes any medical or 
        claims examiner.'';
          (2) in section 1201 (42 U.S.C. 3796)--
                  (A) in subsection (a), by striking ``follows:'' and 
                all that follows and inserting the following: ``follows 
                (if the payee indicated is living on the date on which 
                the determination is made)--
          ``(1) if there is no child who survived the public safety 
        officer, to the surviving spouse of the public safety officer;
          ``(2) if there is at least 1 child who survived the public 
        safety officer and a surviving spouse of the public safety 
        officer, 50 percent to the surviving child (or children, in 
        equal shares) and 50 percent to the surviving spouse;
          ``(3) if there is no surviving spouse of the public safety 
        officer, to the surviving child (or children, in equal shares);
          ``(4) if there is no surviving spouse of the public safety 
        officer and no surviving child--
                  ``(A) to the surviving individual (or individuals, in 
                shares per the designation, or, otherwise, in equal 
                shares) designated by the public safety officer to 
                receive benefits under this subsection in the most 
                recently executed designation of beneficiary of the 
                public safety officer on file at the time of death with 
                the public safety agency, organization, or unit; or
                  ``(B) if there is no individual qualifying under 
                subparagraph (A), to the surviving individual (or 
                individuals, in equal shares) designated by the public 
                safety officer to receive benefits under the most 
                recently executed life insurance policy of the public 
                safety officer on file at the time of death with the 
                public safety agency, organization, or unit;
          ``(5) if there is no individual qualifying under paragraph 
        (1), (2), (3), or (4), to the surviving parent (or parents, in 
        equal shares) of the public safety officer; or
          ``(6) if there is no individual qualifying under paragraph 
        (1), (2), (3), (4), or (5), to the surviving individual (or 
        individuals, in equal shares) who would qualify under the 
        definition of the term `child' under section 1204 but for 
        age.'';
                  (B) in subsection (b)--
                          (i) by striking ``direct result of a 
                        catastrophic'' and inserting ``direct and 
                        proximate result of a personal'';
                          (ii) by striking ``pay,'' and all that 
                        follows through ``the same'' and inserting 
                        ``pay the same'';
                          (iii) by striking ``in any year'' and 
                        inserting ``to the public safety officer (if 
                        living on the date on which the determination 
                        is made)'';
                          (iv) by striking ``in such year, adjusted'' 
                        and inserting ``with respect to the date on 
                        which the catastrophic injury occurred, as 
                        adjusted'';
                          (v) by striking ``, to such officer'';
                          (vi) by striking ``the total'' and all that 
                        follows through ``For'' and inserting ``for''; 
                        and
                          (vii) by striking ``That these'' and all that 
                        follows through the period, and inserting 
                        ``That the amount payable under this subsection 
                        shall be the amount payable as of the date of 
                        catastrophic injury of such public safety 
                        officer.'';
                  (C) in subsection (f)--
                          (i) in paragraph (1), by striking ``, as 
                        amended (D.C. Code, sec. 4-622); or'' and 
                        inserting a semicolon;
                          (ii) in paragraph (2)--
                                  (I) by striking ``. Such 
                                beneficiaries shall only receive 
                                benefits under such section 8191 that'' 
                                and inserting ``, such that 
                                beneficiaries shall receive only such 
                                benefits under such section 8191 as''; 
                                and
                                  (II) by striking the period at the 
                                end and inserting ``; or''; and
                          (iii) by adding at the end the following:
          ``(3) payments under the September 11th Victim Compensation 
        Fund of 2001 (49 U.S.C. 40101 note; Public Law 107-42).'';
                  (D) by amending subsection (k) to read as follows:
  ``(k) As determined by the Bureau, a heart attack, stroke, or 
vascular rupture suffered by a public safety officer shall be presumed 
to constitute a personal injury within the meaning of subsection (a), 
sustained in the line of duty by the officer and directly and 
proximately resulting in death, if--
          ``(1) the public safety officer, while on duty--
                  ``(A) engages in a situation involving nonroutine 
                stressful or strenuous physical law enforcement, fire 
                suppression, rescue, hazardous material response, 
                emergency medical services, prison security, disaster 
                relief, or other emergency response activity; or
                  ``(B) participates in a training exercise involving 
                nonroutine stressful or strenuous physical activity;
          ``(2) the heart attack, stroke, or vascular rupture 
        commences--
                  ``(A) while the officer is engaged or participating 
                as described in paragraph (1);
                  ``(B) while the officer remains on that duty after 
                being engaged or participating as described in 
                paragraph (1); or
                  ``(C) not later than 24 hours after the officer is 
                engaged or participating as described in paragraph (1); 
                and
          ``(3) the heart attack, stroke, or vascular rupture directly 
        and proximately results in the death of the public safety 
        officer,
unless competent medical evidence establishes that the heart attack, 
stroke, or vascular rupture was unrelated to the engagement or 
participation or was directly and proximately caused by something other 
than the mere presence of cardiovascular-disease risk factors.''; and
                  (E) by adding at the end the following:
  ``(n) The public safety agency, organization, or unit responsible for 
maintaining on file an executed designation of beneficiary or executed 
life insurance policy for purposes of subsection (a)(4) shall maintain 
the confidentiality of the designation or policy in the same manner as 
the agency, organization, or unit maintains personnel or other similar 
records of the public safety officer.'';
          (3) in section 1202 (42 U.S.C. 3796a)--
                  (A) by striking ``death'', each place it appears 
                except the second place it appears, and inserting 
                ``fatal''; and
                  (B) in paragraph (1), by striking ``or catastrophic 
                injury'' the second place it appears and inserting ``, 
                disability, or injury'';
          (4) in section 1203 (42 U.S.C. 3796a-1)--
                  (A) in the section heading, by striking ``who have 
                died in the line of duty'' and inserting ``who have 
                sustained fatal or catastrophic injury in the line of 
                duty''; and
                  (B) by striking ``who have died in the line of duty'' 
                and inserting ``who have sustained fatal or 
                catastrophic injury in the line of duty'';
          (5) in section 1204 (42 U.S.C. 3796b)--
                  (A) in paragraph (1), by striking ``consequences of 
                an injury that'' and inserting ``an injury, the direct 
                and proximate consequences of which'';
                  (B) in paragraph (3)--
                          (i) in the matter preceding clause (i)--
                                  (I) by inserting ``or permanently and 
                                totally disabled'' after ``deceased''; 
                                and
                                  (II) by striking ``death'' and 
                                inserting ``fatal or catastrophic 
                                injury''; and
                          (ii) by redesignating clauses (i), (ii), and 
                        (iii) as subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C), 
                        respectively;
                  (C) in paragraph (5)--
                          (i) by striking ``post-mortem'' each place it 
                        appears and inserting ``post-injury''; and
                          (ii) by redesignating clauses (i) and (ii) as 
                        subparagraphs (A) and (B), respectively;
                  (D) in paragraph (7), by striking ``public employee 
                member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew;'' and 
                inserting ``employee or volunteer member of a rescue 
                squad or ambulance crew (including a ground or air 
                ambulance service) that--
                  ``(A) is a public agency; or
                  ``(B) is (or is a part of) a nonprofit entity serving 
                the public that--
                          ``(i) is officially authorized or licensed to 
                        engage in rescue activity or to provide 
                        emergency medical services; and
                          ``(ii) engages in rescue activities or 
                        provides emergency medical services as part of 
                        an official emergency response system;''; and
                  (E) in paragraph (9)--
                          (i) in subparagraph (A), by striking ``as a 
                        chaplain, or as a member of a rescue squad or 
                        ambulance crew;'' and inserting ``or as a 
                        chaplain;'';
                          (ii) in subparagraph (B)(ii), by striking 
                        ``or'' after the semicolon;
                          (iii) in subparagraph (C)(ii), by striking 
                        the period and inserting ``; or''; and
                          (iv) by adding at the end the following:
                  ``(D) a member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew 
                who, as authorized or licensed by law and by the 
                applicable agency or entity, is engaging in rescue 
                activity or in the provision of emergency medical 
                services.''
          (6) in section 1205 (42 U.S.C. 3796c), by adding at the end 
        the following:
  ``(d) Unless expressly provided otherwise, any reference in this part 
to any provision of law not in this part shall be understood to 
constitute a general reference under the doctrine of incorporation by 
reference, and thus to include any subsequent amendments to the 
provision.'';
          (7) in each of subsections (a) and (b) of section 1212 (42 
        U.S.C. 3796d-1), sections 1213 and 1214 (42 U.S.C. 3796d-2 and 
        3796d-3), and subsections (b) and (c) of section 1216 (42 
        U.S.C. 3796d-5), by striking ``dependent'' each place it 
        appears and inserting ``person'';
          (8) in section 1212 (42 U.S.C. 3796d-1)--
                  (A) in subsection (a)--
                          (i) in paragraph (1), in the matter preceding 
                        subparagraph (A), by striking ``Subject'' and 
                        all that follows through ``, the'' and 
                        inserting ``The''; and
                          (ii) in paragraph (3), by striking ``reduced 
                        by'' and all that follows through ``(B) the 
                        amount'' and inserting ``reduced by the 
                        amount'';
                  (B) in subsection (c)--
                          (i) in the subsection heading, by striking 
                        ``Dependent''; and
                          (ii) by striking ``dependent'';
          (9) in paragraphs (2) and (3) of section 1213(b) (42 U.S.C. 
        3796d-2(b)), by striking ``dependent's'' each place it appears 
        and inserting ``person's'';
          (10) in section 1216 (42 U.S.C. 3796d-5)--
                  (A) in subsection (a), by striking ``each dependent'' 
                each place it appears and inserting ``a spouse or 
                child''; and
                  (B) by striking ``dependents'' each place it appears 
                and inserting ``a person''; and
          (11) in section 1217(3)(A) (42 U.S.C. 3796d-6(3)(A)), by 
        striking ``described in'' and all that follows and inserting 
        ``an institution of higher education, as defined in section 102 
        of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1002); and''.
  (b) Amendment Related to Expedited Payment for Public Safety Officers 
Involved in the Prevention, Investigation, Rescue, or Recovery Efforts 
Related to a Terrorist Attack.--Section 611(a) of the Uniting and 
Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to 
Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001 (42 
U.S.C. 3796c-1(a)) is amended by inserting ``or an entity described in 
section 1204(7)(B) of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 
1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796b(7)(B))'' after ``employed by such agency''.
  (c) Technical and Conforming Amendment.--Section 402(l)(4)(C) of the 
Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended--
          (1) by striking ``section 1204(9)(A)'' and inserting 
        ``section 1204(10)(A)''; and
          (2) by striking ``42 U.S.C. 3796b(9)(A)'' and inserting ``42 
        U.S.C. 3796b(10)(A)''.

SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS; DETERMINATIONS; APPEALS.

  The matter under the heading ``public safety officers benefits'' 
under the heading ``Office of Justice Programs'' under title II of 
division B of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 (Public Law 
110-161; 121 Stat. 1912; 42 U.S.C. 3796c-2) is amended--
          (1) by striking ``decisions'' and inserting 
        ``determinations'';
          (2) by striking ``(including those, and any related matters, 
        pending)''; and
          (3) by striking the period at the end and inserting the 
        following: ``:  Provided further, That, on and after the date 
        of enactment of the Public Safety Officers' Benefits 
        Improvements Act of 2012, as to each such statute--
          ``(1) the provisions of section 1001(a)(4) of such title I 
        (42 U.S.C. 3793(a)(4)) shall apply;
          ``(2) payment (other than payment made pursuant to section 
        611 of the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing 
        Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism 
        (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001 (42 U.S.C. 3796c-1)) shall be 
        made only upon a determination by the Bureau that the facts 
        legally warrant the payment;
          ``(3) any reference to section 1202 of such title I shall be 
        deemed to be a reference to paragraphs (2) and (3) of such 
        section 1202; and
          ``(4) a certification submitted under any such statute (other 
        than a certification submitted pursuant to section 611 of the 
        Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate 
        Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT 
        ACT) Act of 2001 (42 U.S.C. 3796c-1)) may be accepted by the 
        Bureau as prima facie evidence of the facts asserted in the 
        certification:
    Provided further, That, on and after the date of enactment of the 
Public Safety Officers' Benefits Improvements Act of 2012, no appeal 
shall bring any final determination of the Bureau before any court for 
review unless notice of appeal is filed (within the time specified 
herein and in the manner prescribed for appeal to United States courts 
of appeals from United States district courts) not later than 90 days 
after the date on which the Bureau serves notice of the final 
determination:  Provided further,  That any regulations promulgated by 
the Bureau under such part (or any such statute) before, on, or after 
the date of enactment of the Public Safety Officers' Benefits 
Improvements Act of 2012 shall apply to any matter pending on, or filed 
or accruing after, the effective date specified in the regulations, 
except as the Bureau may, consistent with the interests of justice, 
indicate otherwise.''.

SEC. 4. EFFECTIVE DATE.

  (a) In General.--Except as provided in subsection (b), the amendments 
made by this Act shall--
          (1) take effect on the date of enactment of this Act; and
          (2) apply to any matter pending, before the Bureau of Justice 
        Assistance or otherwise, on the date of enactment of this Act, 
        or filed or accruing after that date.
  (b) Exceptions.--
          (1) Rescue squads and ambulance crews.--For a member of a 
        rescue squad or ambulance crew (as defined in section 1204(7) 
        of title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 
        1968, as amended by this Act), the amendments made by this Act 
        shall apply to injuries sustained on or after June 1, 2009.
          (2) Heart attacks, strokes, and vascular ruptures.--Section 
        1201(k) of title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe 
        Streets Act of 1968, as amended by this Act, shall apply to 
        heart attacks, strokes, and vascular ruptures sustained on or 
        after December 15, 2003.

                          Purpose and Summary

    The legislation makes improvements to the Public Safety 
Officers' Benefit Act of 1976, which supports public safety 
officers and their families across the country.
    This legislation, among other things, provides a very 
limited expansion of coverage, for some non-profit personnel, 
to the current statutory provisions relating to members of 
rescue squads or ambulance crews who suffer fatal or 
catastrophic injury as a result of their performance of certain 
public safety activity within their specific lines of duty. 
With these changes, a member of a rescue squad or ambulance 
crew--i.e., an employee or volunteer member either of a public-
agency rescue squad or ambulance crew, or of a rescue squad or 
ambulance crew that is (or is a part of) a nonprofit entity 
serving the public that is officially authorized or licensed to 
engage in rescue activity or to provide emergency medical 
services, and engages (as directed by an official emergency 
dispatch system) in rescue activities or provides emergency 
medical services--would be covered under the PSOB program, 
whenever the member is engaging in rescue activity or in the 
provision of emergency medical services, as authorized or 
licensed by law and by the applicable agency or entity (and as 
directed under the official emergency dispatch system).

                Background and Need for the Legislation

    Congress passed the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Act 
(PSOBA) in 1976. Since PSOBA was first enacted, there have been 
many subsequent modifications of, and amendments to, the PSOBA 
and related laws. Some of these statutory amendments have 
expanded coverage under the program; many of them have 
contracted coverage.
    When it approves claims for the benefits payable under the 
PSOBA and related statutes, the Bureau of Justice Assistance of 
the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs has a legal 
duty to do so judiciously. The Bureau has the concurrent duty 
to be both the impartial administrator of the PSOBA according 
to the law and the impartial guardian of the public treasury 
with respect to it. Failure to administer the PSOBA program in 
keeping with these two principles could jeopardize the 
program's continued existence. It is just as problematic for 
the program if the Department of Justice pays a PSOBA claim 
when payment is not unequivocally warranted by the PSOBA 
program statutes and implementing regulations, or is not 
supported by the evidence, as it is for the Department to deny 
payment when payment is clearly required.
    Under 31 U.S.C. Sec. 3528, every Department official who 
determines PSOBA claims and/or certifies payments is personally 
``responsible for . . . repaying a payment [that is] illegal, 
improper, or incorrect because of an inaccurate or misleading 
certificate; [that is] prohibited by law; or . . . that does 
not represent a legal obligation under the appropriation . . . 
involved'' unless the determination ``was based on official 
records and the official did not know, and by reasonable 
diligence and inquiry could not have discovered, the correct 
information.'' Under 31 U.S.C. Sec. 3528, every Department 
official who determines PSOBA claims and/or certifies payments 
is personally ``responsible for . . . repaying a payment [that 
is] illegal, improper, or incorrect because of an inaccurate or 
misleading certificate; [that is] prohibited by law; or . . . 
that does not represent a legal obligation under the 
appropriation . . . involved'' unless the determination ``was 
based on official records and the official did not know, and by 
reasonable diligence and inquiry could not have discovered, the 
correct information.''
    Moreover, under 31 U.S.C. Sec. 1301(a), a payment pursuant 
to a legally unwarranted PSOBA determination would appear to be 
a violation of 31 U.S.C. Sec. 1341(a)(1)(A), the Anti-
Deficiency Act, which is a felony statute in addition to 
carrying civil and administrative penalties, 31 U.S.C. 
Sec. Sec. 1350, 1349(a).
    The PSOBA is an important resource for the public safety 
officers and their families who would potentially face 
financial disaster because of the death or incapacitation of 
the public safety officer. The Supreme Court in Rose correctly 
acknowledged the benefits payable under PSOBA to be legal 
gratuities (see Rose v. Arkansas State Police, 479 U.S. 1, 4 
(1986)). While the program is recognized as an important 
resource, there are many things that the program is not. The 
PSOBA program is not an insurance program, a worker's 
compensation program, or a remedial program, and never has 
been. It is also not a program that covers, or ever was 
intended to cover, Good Samaritans--even Good Samaritans who 
happen to be public safety officers, acting outside their 
specific line of duty. Nor is it a program that covers, or ever 
has covered, or ever was intended to cover, off-the-job 
injuries, conditions, or circumstances; or non-physical 
injuries; or mental stress or strain, post-traumatic or 
otherwise; or occupational diseases; or injuries that result 
from an officer's misconduct, suicide, illegal, unauthorized, 
or improper behavior, or from other officer activity that is 
inconsistent with or contrary to law or to rules or conditions 
of duty; or injuries that occur when an officer is intoxicated 
through having consumed drugs or alcohol other than under 
duress or by mistake, or when an officer is grossly negligent 
in the performance of duty. Instead, it is a deliberately 
limited program that, except for one carefully circumscribed 
exception relating to certain heart attacks and strokes, 
provides for the payment of specific gratuity benefits arising 
from the death, or permanent and total disability, of some 
public safety officers, when the Department of Justice itself 
determines, on the basis of legally-sufficient objective 
evidence, and after ``reasonable diligence and inquiry,'' that 
the death or disability is ``the direct and proximate'' result 
of a physical injury sustained in the line of their specific 
duty; i.e., while they are acting within the scope of their 
official responsibility, legal authority, and particular 
employment as police officers, firefighters, correctional 
officers, probation and parole officers, chaplains, members of 
rescue squads or ambulance crews, or other positions defined by 
the statute. Each of these requirements is firmly-established 
in the law and therefore to be given full effect, rather than 
minimized, ignored, or interpreted away, administratively or 
judicially. Several disappointing rulings from the Court of 
Federal Claims that failed to recognize the gratuitous nature 
of PSOBA benefits contributed to the result of the jurisdiction 
over PSOBA appeals being removed from that Court and lodged 
exclusively in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.
    Not every person for whom public safety officer status is 
claimed is a ``public safety officer,'' for purposes of the 
PSOBA program, and not everything that public safety officers 
do, or every injury that may happen to them, happens or is 
sustained in their ``line of duty.'' Not every disabling injury 
that may happen to an officer is a ``catastrophic injury'' 
within the meaning of the PSOBA. And, under the PSOBA and 
related statutes, not every injury that occurs in an officer's 
line of duty is ``the direct and proximate'' cause (i.e., 
``the'' principal, ``substantial factor,'' as opposed to being 
a mere precipitator or a merely coincident cause) of death, or 
permanent and total disability, that may result or follow. By 
means of its PSOBA-implementing regulations and its consistent 
administrative jurisprudence derived from its determination of 
thousands of PSOBA claims over 35 years, the Office of Justice 
Programs has established a measured, comprehensive structure 
that falls well within the legislative intention for this 
limited program and overall has served to harmonize, interpret, 
and fill out the many disparate concepts that are critical to 
the various parts of the program, such as--injury; line of duty 
injury; line of duty activity or action; direct and proximate 
causation; substantial factor; risky behavior; legal authority 
and obligation to act as a public safety officer; gainful work; 
involvement in crime control; total disability; permanent 
disability; medical certainty; medical probability; fire 
suppression; fire protection; primary/non-primary function; 
department or agency; intention; voluntary intoxication; gross 
negligence; intentional misconduct; functionally within or part 
of a public agency; instrumentality; certification; terrorist 
attack; qualified beneficiary; eligible payee; biological; 
heart attack; divorce; beneficiary of a life insurance policy; 
designated beneficiary under the PSOBA; intentional action or 
activity; occupational disease; participation in a training 
exercise; engagement in a situation; authorized commuting; 
emergency medical services; official training program; 
employment by a public agency; employee; and official capacity.
    Since the PSOBA-implementing regulations were first issued 
in 1977, Congress has never overturned any of them by 
legislation. Courts are bound by the PSOBA's requirements and 
provisions of properly-implemented regulations, just as much as 
the Office of Justice Programs is, and further bound by the 
agency's administrative jurisprudence. Every PSOBA case is a 
legal claim against the Treasury, and these regulations and 
consistent administrative precedents have helped to ensure that 
the Federal Government, which is in the midst of its greatest 
debt crisis since the Founding, decides these claims strictly 
in accordance with the PSOBA and the underlying law governing 
legal gratuities, in a generally consistent and orderly manner 
over time, and based on real, objective, and legally sufficient 
evidence that objectively meets the standards of proof set 
forth in the law, rather than speculation, fancied legislative 
intent, uncorroborated assertions, biased evidence, a slanted 
record, incomplete information, or sympathy, however 
understandable or deeply felt.
    Regulations can go only so far. Last year, the Bureau of 
Justice Assistance received a record number of death and 
disability claims, totaling in excess of 700. The Bureau has 
struggled to keep abreast, and must be provided with adequate 
means to enable it to administer the program and determine 
claims, under the law, more efficiently than it does at 
present. This legislation makes certain changes of a technical 
or administrative nature to the PSOBA and related laws that 
should help to expedite the administrative processing of these 
legal claims against the Federal Government and clarify 
Congressional intent with regard to certain matters.
    Additionally, experience has highlighted that certain 
provisions of the PSOBA have the effect of excluding from the 
program some classes or subclasses of safety officers and of 
trainees who might better be included under certain 
circumstances. For instance, under the PSOBA as currently in 
effect, police academy trainees are considered ``law 
enforcement officers'' only after they acquire the legal 
authority and responsibility to go out and enforce the law by 
making arrests and detaining real or suspected criminals, 
because, under the PSOBA and related statutes, one cannot be a 
``law enforcement officer'' unless one actually has the legal 
duty to enforce the criminal law; and the same goes for fire-
fighter trainees, who are not considered ``firefighters'' until 
they actually acquire the legal authority and responsibility to 
go out and protect the public by fighting fires, because one is 
not a ``firefighter'' under the PSOBA and related statutes if 
one is not under the duty to fight fires. Mere authority to 
engage in training activities has never been enough to make 
someone a public safety officer, and when the dangers inherent 
in some academy or other training exercises lead to fatal or 
catastrophic injury, only those trainees who coincidentally 
happen already to have that outside legal authority and 
responsibility are covered under current law. Efforts have been 
made to address this situation by considering certain limited 
expansions of coverage to some public safety officer candidates 
who suffer fatal or catastrophic injury as a result of their 
discharge of certain training activities. The scope or the 
appropriateness of such an expansion remains unsettled and is 
not addressed in this bill. The only expansion of status 
coverage in this legislation relates to certain nonprofit 
emergency response personnel who suffer fatal or catastrophic 
injury as a result of their discharge of certain specific 
public safety activities.

                                Hearings

    The Committee on the Judiciary held no hearings on H.R. 
4018.

                        Committee Consideration

    On June 6, 2012, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered the bill (H.R. 4018) to be reported favorably, with an 
amendment, by voice vote, a quorum being present.

                            Committee Votes

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that no 
rollcall votes occurred during the Committee's consideration of 
H.R. 4018.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives is inapplicable because this legislation does 
not provide new budgetary authority or increased tax 
expenditures.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets forth, with 
respect to the bill, H.R. 4018, the following estimate and 
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, June 22, 2012.
Hon. Lamar Smith, Chairman,
Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 4018, the ``Public 
Safety Officers' Benefits Improvements Act of 2012.''
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Mark 
Grabowicz, who can be reached at 226-2860.
            Sincerely,
                                      Douglas W. Elmendorf,
                                                  Director.

Enclosure

cc:
        Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
        Ranking Member




 H.R. 4018--Public Safety Officers' Benefits Improvements Act of 2012.

      As ordered reported by the House Committee on the Judiciary 
                            on June 6, 2012.




    CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 4018 would have no 
significant cost to the Federal Government. Enacting the bill 
could affect direct spending; therefore, pay-as-you-go 
procedures apply. However, CBO estimates that any effects would 
be insignificant for each year. The legislation would not 
affect revenues.
    Under current law, the families of public safety officers 
who have died as a result of injuries sustained in the line of 
duty are eligible for a one-time payment of about $320,000. 
Public safety officers who have been permanently disabled are 
eligible for the same payment, but this payment is subject to 
the availability of appropriated funds.
    This legislation would make members of rescue squads or 
ambulance crews operated by nonprofit entities eligible for 
benefits paid when public safety officers are permanently 
disabled or die as a result of injuries sustained in the line 
of duty. H.R. 4018 also would narrow the eligibility of members 
of rescue squads or ambulance crews for benefits under the 
Public Safety Officers' Benefit (PSOB) program; as a result, 
some individuals would no longer receive benefits that they 
could receive under current law. The bill would prevent 
individuals from receiving certain benefits under the program 
if they receive payments from the September 11th Victim 
Compensation Fund of 2001. In addition, the proposed 
legislation would make many technical and administrative 
changes that aim to expedite the processing of claims for 
benefits.
    Based on the number of fatalities of members of nonprofit 
rescue squads or ambulance crews in recent years, CBO expects 
that, on average, a few persons each year would be affected by 
the proposed legislation and that additional payments from the 
PSOB program would be made. CBO estimates that those payments 
would total $13 million over the 2013-2022 period. However, 
based on information from the Department of Justice, we expect 
that those costs would be offset by savings from other 
provisions of the bill that would result in fewer persons 
receiving PSOB payments than will receive them under current 
law. As a result, CBO estimates that enacting the legislation 
would have no significant net effect on direct spending or 
discretionary spending from the PSOB program.
    H.R. 4018 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on State, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Mark Grabowicz. 
The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    The Committee states that pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, H.R. 
4018 promotes public safety as a profession by providing 
benefits for public safety officers catastrophically injured or 
killed in the line of duty, thereby encouraging consideration 
of that profession by addressing financial security for the 
families impacted by the death or serious injury of a public 
safety officer.

                          Advisory on Earmarks

    In accordance with clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, H.R. 4018 does not contain any 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as defined in clause 9(e), 9(f), or 9(g) of Rule XXI.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

Section 1. Short Title
    This section creates a short title, the Public Safety 
Officers' Benefits Improvement Act of 2011.
Section 2. Benefits for Certain Nonprofit Emergency Medical Service 
        Providers and Certain Trainees; Miscellaneous Amendments
    In general, this section of the legislation implements 
certain technical and administrative corrections, harmonizes 
inconsistent statutory language within the PSOBA, amends some 
provisions relating to beneficiaries and the definition of 
``member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew,'' and clarifies 
certain existing statutory language.
    Subsection (a)(1): Because PSOBA claims are gratuity claims 
against the Treasury, all PSOBA claimants have the burden of 
proof as to every element of their claims, and any claim that 
lacks legally-sufficient objective evidence as to any material 
element, as a matter of law, must be denied. If such legally-
sufficient objective evidence is present, however, then the 
PSOBA leaves it to the discretion of the Department, acting as 
finder of fact, to determine thereafter, upon ``reasonable 
diligence and inquiry''(see 31 U.S.C. Sec. 3528) if it is 
persuaded by that evidence, or not, under the particular 
standard of proof applicable to the element. For this reason, 
among the most important authorities that the Department has in 
connection with determining PSOBA claims is the authority to 
make inquiries and gather evidence on its own initiative (as by 
law it is duty bound to do, cf. 31 U.S.C. Sec. 3528, to avoid 
the issuance of ``an inaccurate or misleading certificate'' of 
determination, and to avoid any payment of a false claim or any 
payment in violation of the Anti-Deficiency Act), so that it 
may objectively test or verify each material factual assertion 
made and obtain relevant information beyond what claimants may 
provide, thus enabling it to discharge its legal duty of making 
its determinations as to each material element, in every claim, 
based on a proper, sound, thorough, and impartial objective 
record, rather than a faulty, skewed, incomplete, or slanted 
one.
    Currently, hearing examiners, who are a principal means by 
which the Department independently obtains evidence in PSOBA 
claims, may receive evidence in any part of the United States. 
This provision of the legislation clarifies that medical or 
claims examiners may also receive evidence in any part of the 
United States, by making it clear that medical or claims 
examiners are hearing examiners under the program. In 
connection with medical examinations, the program's current 
piecemeal approach to finding and using the services of medical 
examiners from all over, who often have little or no experience 
with the program or training in its specific statutory and 
regulatory requirements, particularly for in-person 
examinations, has led to significant delays in claims 
processing and to needless administrative expense in securing 
and training each new examiner. Moreover, the current piecemeal 
approach has exposed the program to the risk of determining 
claims inconsistently with its prior administrative cases and/
or contrarily to the PSOBA, such as through the application of 
legal or evidentiary standards from other programs or other 
areas of the law. This is a systemic problem, and a serious 
one, because, since the program's inception, impartial expert 
medical opinions obtained by the agency, most notably from the 
Armed Forces Institute of Pathology but also from other 
outstanding medical experts, have helped to ensure that the 
agency's determinations have a full and sufficient objective 
evidentiary basis, and apply the correct legal standards rather 
than the opinions of personal physicians, or other medical 
practitioners, who may be partial, have a direct or indirect 
financial interest at stake, or who are unfamiliar with or 
unused to the specific requirements of the PSOBA program. Under 
this legislation, the program will have clear statutory 
authority for the appointment of a disciplined cadre of 
impartial, dispassionate, objective, and informed independent 
medical examiners, much as the program currently has a cadre of 
appointed independent hearing examiners, who are well trained 
and versed in the PSOBA and regulations, and can conduct 
medical examinations nationwide and render expert opinions, in 
a manner consistent across the board and from case to case, 
based on their increasing experience, over time, with the 
program.
    Subsection (a)(2)(A): The PSOBA and its implementing 
regulations, together, set out the rules under which the 
statutory death benefit may be received, in the first place, by 
a deceased officer's children and lawful spouse; and, if none, 
by certain designated beneficiaries; and, if none of the above, 
by the officer's biological father and mother (although, 
instead, it may be an adoptive father or an adoptive mother, or 
a stepfather or a stepmother, depending on whom the deceased 
officer considered himself, as of the injury date, to have the 
closest relationship). Among other things, this provision of 
the legislation streamlines and restates the statutory list of 
beneficiaries of death benefits, using consistent language, and 
also specifies as a matter of statute that the living-
beneficiaries-of-gratuities rule (see Letitia Tyler Semple v. 
United States, 24 Ct. Cl. 422 (1889)), which has always been 
applied since the PSOBA was enacted, continues to apply to the 
PSOBA death benefit. This specification should reduce the 
administrative costs of the program by preventing the agency 
from having to determine who may be survivors' legal heirs 
under the laws of inheritance of the several States. Under this 
provision of the bill, the beneficiaries, starting with spouse 
and children, currently specified in the PSOBA remain in place, 
and in the same order as at present, ending thereafter, in 
cases where an officer is survived by neither his father nor 
his mother, or by anyone higher on the statutory list of 
potential beneficiaries, with the officer's surviving adult 
children.
    Subsection (a)(2)(B): Under the PSOBA and its implementing 
regulations, and consistent administrative jurisprudence, a 
disability benefit is payable only when the Department 
determines that a public safety officer has sustained a line of 
duty injury whose direct physical consequences permanently 
prevent the performance of any gainful work. This rule would 
remain firmly in place, undisturbed, under the provisions of 
the bill. As currently written, however, the PSOBA's disability 
provisions use different terms from those in other parts of the 
PSOBA to describe the same or similar things, which leads to 
ambiguity and imprecision, thus increasing the administrative 
costs of the program and occasioning delay in the processing of 
disability claims. This provision of the legislation addresses 
this problem by clarifying and harmonizing the statutory 
language relating to disability with other provisions of the 
PSOBA so as to create consistency in terms across the statute.
    Subsection (a)(2)(C): This provision of the legislation 
corrects a longstanding drafting error and makes a conforming 
amendment to the PSOBA collateral source/dual-compensation 
provision, by expressly netting out any payments made under 
Pub. L. 107-42: The collateral source provisions of Pub. L. 
107-42 already requires PSOBA payments, among other payments, 
to be netted out, so as to avoid dual payment, but nothing in 
the PSOBA itself, as currently in effect, reflects this. 
Currently, 42 U.S.C. 3796(f)(1) requires eligibility for PSOBA 
benefits to be determined only after eligibility, if any, for 
the payments referred to there has been determined. With this 
legislative change, similarly, eligibility for PSOBA benefits 
will be determined only after eligibility, if any, for payment 
under Pub. L. 107-42 has been finally determined. Overall, this 
provision of the legislation should reduce confusion among 
claimants and lower the resulting programmatic administrative 
costs.
    Subsection (a)(2)(D): The Hometown Heroes Survivors 
Benefits Act of 2003 created a statutory presumption generally 
applicable, in principle, to certain heart attacks and strokes 
that occur within a certain time after a public safety officer, 
while otherwise on duty, has actually done one of the following 
specific things--(1) ``engaged in a situation'' within his line 
of duty, which engagement involved ``physical . . . emergency 
response activity'' that was also ``law enforcement, fire 
suppression, rescue, hazardous material response, emergency 
medical services, prison security, disaster relief, or other 
[similar] activity,'' as well as ``nonroutine'' and either 
``stressful or strenuous''; or (2) ``participated in a training 
exercise'' of his public agency, which participation involved 
``physical activity'' that was also both ``nonroutine'' and 
either ``stressful or strenuous.'' Although the terms in the 
2003 enactment are not defined in the statute, by and large 
over time, mostly through implementing regulations but also 
through its administrative jurisprudence, the Bureau has given 
the separate elements that are statutorily required for the 
presumption to arise practical and workable definitions. One 
particular term introduced into the PSOBA in 2003, ``competent 
medical evidence to the contrary,'' has not proven workable as 
introduced. This problem is addressed in this provision of the 
legislation, along with some streamlining of the 2003 statutory 
language.
    First, the 2003 enactment placed the term in the wrong 
position within the PSOBA. Instead of using the term to 
describe something that rebutted the statutory presumption, the 
2003 enactment provided that the presumption itself could arise 
only if the same presumption was ``not overcome by competent 
medical evidence to the contrary.'' In other words, under the 
2003 enactment, claimants--who of course as gratuity claimants 
against the Treasury have the burden of proof as to every 
element of their claims--are entitled to the presumption only 
if they can prove a negative. This provision of the legislation 
removes the negative from the factual elements that claimants 
must prove for the presumption, in principle, to arise, and 
separates the ``competent medical evidence'' inquiry/analysis 
required by the statute from the presumption inquiry/analysis.
    Second, nothing in the 2003 enactment indicated what the 
``competent medical evidence'' was supposed to be ``to the 
contrary'' of. The Department of Justice proposed regulations 
in 2005 that would have made the mere existence of certain 
well-recognized cardiovascular disease risk factors ``competent 
medical evidence to the contrary,'' but this result was avoided 
in its 2006 final regulations relating to ``competent medical 
evidence to the contrary,'' which correctly turn, instead, on 
``risky behavior'' and on things other than ``any engagement or 
participation described in the Act.'' This provision of the 
legislation strikes the ``to the contrary'' language from the 
current statute and replaces it with a clear and precise 
articulation of the specific factual issues that the 
``competent medical evidence'' in a given claim is to go to, so 
as to keep claimants from being in doubt as to what, precisely, 
they must establish, in connection with this term, as a 
material element of their claims. In so doing, among other 
things, the legislation expressly precludes any possibility of 
adoption of a ``mere existence'' rule, such as was proposed 
unsuccessfully in 2005.
    This provision of the legislation streamlines and restates 
the 2003 amendment to the PSOBA in clearer, more logical, more 
precise, and much less confusing language, and which harmonizes 
with the terms and structure found in other parts of the PSOBA. 
The 2003 amendment, as currently in effect, has occasioned 
great confusion among claimants and has imposed significant 
attendant administrative costs on the program. Under this 
provision of the legislation, which is intended to reduce that 
confusion, and those costs, a public safety officer who is 
determined by the Office of Justice Programs to have died as 
the direct and proximate result of a heart attack, a stroke, or 
a vascular rupture under the specific conditions delineated 
there (described above) shall be presumed to have died as the 
direct and proximate result of a personal injury sustained in 
the line of duty unless competent medical evidence establishes 
that the engagement or participation necessary for the 
presumption to arise played no material part in it, or that it 
was directly and proximately caused by something other than the 
mere presence of cardiovascular disease risk factors.
    Subsection (a)(2)(E): This provision of the legislation 
moves a provision currently contained in the PSOBA to a more 
logical place within the statute, without making any 
substantive change.
    Subsection (a)(3): The PSOBA contains provisions that 
categorically forbid the agency to pay benefits in any case in 
which there is reasonable evidence that there may have been 
officer misconduct that may have led to the fatal or 
catastrophic injury, or in which there is reasonable evidence 
that the officer, at the time of the fatal or catastrophic 
injury, may have been voluntarily intoxicated or may have been 
grossly negligent in the performance of duties, unless the 
claimant establishes the contrary, as a material element of the 
claim. Unfortunately, those provisions, as currently written, 
use terms in a manner inconsistent with other provisions of the 
PSOBA, which leads to ambiguity and imprecision and results in 
the delay of processing of certain claims, thereby increasing 
the program's administrative costs. This provision of the 
legislation amends these statutory non-payment provisions, and 
addresses these problems, by harmonizing the current statutory 
language with other provisions of the PSOBA so as to create 
consistency in terms across the statute. The amendments made by 
the legislation do not change the substance of these PSOBA non-
payment provisions, as currently in effect and implemented by 
the agency regulations.
    Subsection (a)(4) & (5): Various provisions of the PSOBA, 
as currently written, use different terms to describe the same 
or similar things, which leads to ambiguity, imprecision, and 
confusion, occasions delays in the processing of claims, and 
increases in the administrative costs of the program. In 
keeping with the agency regulations, this provision of the 
legislation addresses these problems by harmonizing the current 
statutory language with other provisions of the PSOBA so as to 
create consistency in terms across the statute; the provision 
also corrects several technical errors in the current statute.
    Finally, this provision of the legislation makes precise 
changes, including a limited expansion of coverage for some 
non-profit personnel, to the current statutory provisions 
relating to members of rescue squads or ambulance crews who 
suffer fatal or catastrophic injury as a result of their 
performance of certain public safety activity within their 
specific lines of duty. With these changes, a member of a 
rescue squad or ambulance crew--i.e., an employee or volunteer 
member either of a public-agency rescue squad or ambulance 
crew, or of a rescue squad or ambulance crew that is (or is a 
part of) a nonprofit entity serving the public that is 
officially authorized or licensed to engage in rescue activity 
or to provide emergency medical services, and engages in rescue 
activities or provides emergency medical services as part of an 
official emergency response system--would be covered under the 
PSOB program, whenever the member is engaging in rescue 
activity or in the provision of emergency medical services, as 
authorized or licensed by law and by the applicable agency or 
entity (and as part of an official emergency response system).
    Subsection (a)(6) & (11): This provision of the legislation 
clarifies that the various incorporations by reference that 
currently exist in the PSOBA constitute general references 
under the law and thus include subsequent amendments.
    Subsections (a)(7)-(10): These provisions of the 
legislation removes confusing language from the PSOBA. For 
example, the PSOBA currently uses the terms ``dependent 
spouse'' and ``dependent child,'' but does so only in the 
context of the provisions relating to educational-assistance 
benefits. (With respect to the other parts of the PSOBA, the 
term ``dependent'' was removed more than 20 years ago, by Pub. 
L. 100-690.) These provisions of the legislation harmonize the 
statutory language applicable to educational benefits with 
other provisions of the PSOBA. Additionally, these provisions 
remove language that has created unnecessary paperwork burdens 
on claimants and the Bureau, caused administrative delays in 
claims processing and payment, and disproportionately and 
negatively affected low-income children of public safety 
officers.
    Subsection (b): This provision makes a conforming change to 
the `fast track' provisions of law for first responder victims 
of terrorism, found at 42 U.SC. 3796c-1. This fast track 
process was enacted in the week after September 11, 2001, and 
requires payment of benefits under the PSOB program within 30 
days to a qualified applicant injured or killed as a result of 
9/11. One month later, as part of the USA PATRIOT Act, the 
mandate for payment was expanded to cover first responders 
killed while responding to any terrorist event. This provision 
clarifies that the non-profit employees granted eligibility for 
PSOBA benefits under this bill, also would qualify for the fast 
track provisions.
    Subsection (c): This is a conforming amendment, relating to 
a cross-reference to the PSOBA in the tax code.
Section 3. Authorization of Appropriations; Determinations; Appeals
    This section of the legislation largely is technical and 
administrative and intended to reduce the costs of 
administering the program. Principally, it amends 42 U.S.C. 
Sec. 3796c-2 to remove unnecessary language and to harmonize 
the statutory language with other provisions of the PSOBA so as 
to create consistency in terms throughout. Furthermore, it 
provides explicitly that the PSOBA's general appropriations 
authorization, which applies to death, disability, and 
educational-assistance benefit claims, also applies to all 
claims under related statutes, e.g., 42 U.S.C. Sec. 3796c-1 and 
Pub. L. 107-37, thus confirming as a matter of statutory law 
the principle that informs what sections 32.3 and 32.2(e) & 
(f), for example, of the PSOBA implementing regulations already 
provide--that, generally speaking, claims under the related 
statutes all fall within the ambit of the PSOBA program proper. 
Additionally, this section of the legislation makes certain 
other technical and administrative clarifications relating to 
some statutory limitations under current law, to the agency's 
determination authority, and to the agency's acceptance, as 
prima facie evidence, of certain certifications submitted by 
other government agencies--specifically, those certifications 
that government agencies are already authorized by the related 
statutes to submit to the Bureau of Justice Assistance. In so 
doing, among other things, the legislation confirms what 
section 32.5(f) of the PSOBA regulations already provides. None 
of the changes made by this legislation extends the 30-day 
period, currently specified in the related statutes, and that 
commences upon the Bureau's receipt of a proper certification 
from a government agency, within which the Bureau is required 
to make its determination, of approval or denial, as to the 
claim that the certification relates to. Finally, this section 
of the legislation establishes a jurisdictional time limit for 
appeals and a uniform rule for regulations that implement the 
provisions of the PSOBA and related statutes.
Section 4. Effective Date
    This section of the legislation sets out the effective 
dates of the various amendments it makes.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italics, existing law in which no change 
is proposed is shown in roman):

           OMNIBUS CRIME CONTROL AND SAFE STREETS ACT OF 1968



           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
TITLE I--JUSTICE SYSTEM IMPROVEMENT

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                          Part I--Definitions

                              DEFINITIONS

    Sec. 901. (a) As used in this title--
            (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

            (26) the term ``Indian Tribe'' has the meaning 
        given the term ``Indian tribe'' in section 4(e) of the 
        Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act 
        (25 U.S.C. 450b(e)); [and]
            (27) the term ``private person'' means any 
        individual (including an individual acting in his 
        official capacity) and any private partnership, 
        corporation, association, organization, or entity (or 
        any combination thereof)[.]; and
            (28) the term ``hearing examiner'' includes any 
        medical or claims examiner.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


             Part L--Public Safety Officers' Death Benefits

                       Subpart 1--Death Benefits

                                PAYMENTS

    Sec. 1201. (a) In any case in which the Bureau of Justice 
Assistance (hereinafter in this part referred to as the 
``Bureau'') determines, under regulations issued pursuant to 
this part, that a public safety officer has died as the direct 
and proximate result of a personal injury sustained in the line 
of duty, the Bureau shall pay a benefit of $250,000, adjusted 
in accordance with subsection (h), as [follows:
            [(1) if there is no surviving child of such 
        officer, to the surviving spouse of such officer;
            [(2) if there is a surviving child or children and 
        a surviving spouse, one-half to the surviving child or 
        children of such officer in equal shares and one-half 
        to the surviving spouse;
            [(3) if there is no surviving spouse, to the child 
        or children of such officer in equal shares;
            [(4) if there is no surviving spouse or surviving 
        child--
                    [(A) in the case of a claim made on or 
                after the date that is 90 days after the date 
                of the enactment of this subparagraph, to the 
                individual designated by such officer as 
                beneficiary under this section in such 
                officer's most recently executed designation of 
                beneficiary on file at the time of death with 
                such officer's public safety agency, 
                organization, or unit, provided that such 
                individual survived such officer; or
                    [(B) if there is no individual qualifying 
                under subparagraph (A), to the individual 
                designated by such officer as beneficiary under 
                such officer's most recently executed life 
                insurance policy on file at the time of death 
                with such officer's public safety agency, 
                organization, or unit, provided that such 
                individual survived such officer; or
            [(5) if none of the above, to the parent or parents 
        of such officer in equal shares.
            [(6) The public safety agency, organization, or 
        unit responsible for maintaining on file an executed 
        designation of beneficiary or recently executed life 
        insurance policy pursuant to paragraph (4) shall 
        maintain the confidentiality of such designation or 
        policy in the same manner as it maintains personnel or 
        other similar records of the officer.]  follows (if the 
        payee indicated is living on the date on which the 
        determination is made)--
            (1) if there is no child who survived the public 
        safety officer, to the surviving spouse of the public 
        safety officer;
            (2) if there is at least 1 child who survived the 
        public safety officer and a surviving spouse of the 
        public safety officer, 50 percent to the surviving 
        child (or children, in equal shares) and 50 percent to 
        the surviving spouse;
            (3) if there is no surviving spouse of the public 
        safety officer, to the surviving child (or children, in 
        equal shares);
            (4) if there is no surviving spouse of the public 
        safety officer and no surviving child--
                    (A) to the surviving individual (or 
                individuals, in shares per the designation, or, 
                otherwise, in equal shares) designated by the 
                public safety officer to receive benefits under 
                this subsection in the most recently executed 
                designation of beneficiary of the public safety 
                officer on file at the time of death with the 
                public safety agency, organization, or unit; or
                    (B) if there is no individual qualifying 
                under subparagraph (A), to the surviving 
                individual (or individuals, in equal shares) 
                designated by the public safety officer to 
                receive benefits under the most recently 
                executed life insurance policy of the public 
                safety officer on file at the time of death 
                with the public safety agency, organization, or 
                unit;
            (5) if there is no individual qualifying under 
        paragraph (1), (2), (3), or (4), to the surviving 
        parent (or parents, in equal shares) of the public 
        safety officer; or
            (6) if there is no individual qualifying under 
        paragraph (1), (2), (3), (4), or (5), to the surviving 
        individual (or individuals, in equal shares) who would 
        qualify under the definition of the term ``child'' 
        under section 1204 but for age.
    (b) In accordance with regulations issued pursuant to this 
part, in any case in which the Bureau determines that a public 
safety officer has become permanently and totally disabled as 
the [direct result of a catastrophic] direct and proximate 
result of a personal injury sustained in the line of duty, the 
Bureau shall [pay, to the extent that appropriations are 
provided, the same] pay the same benefit [in any year] to the 
public safety officer (if living on the date on which the 
determination is made) that is payable under subsection (a) [in 
such year, adjusted] with respect to the date on which the 
catastrophic injury occurred, as adjusted in accordance with 
subsection (h)[, to such officer]: Provided, That [the total 
annual benefits paid under this subsection may not exceed 
$5,000,000. For] for the purposes of making these benefit 
payments, there are authorized to be appropriated for each 
fiscal year such sums as may be necessary: Provided further, 
[That these benefit payments are subject to the availability of 
appropriations and that each beneficiary's payment shall be 
reduced by a proportionate share to the extent that sufficient 
funds are not appropriated.] That the amount payable under this 
subsection shall be the amount payable as of the date of 
catastrophic injury of such public safety officer.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (f) The benefit payable under this part shall be in 
addition to any other benefit that may be due from any other 
source, except--
            (1) payments authorized by section 12(k) of the Act 
        of September 1, 1916[, as amended (D.C. Code, sec. 4-
        622); or];
            (2) benefits authorized by section 8191 of title 5, 
        United States Code[. Such beneficiaries shall only 
        receive benefits under such section 8191 that], such 
        that beneficiaries shall receive only such benefits 
        under such section 8191 as are in excess of the 
        benefits received under this part[.]; or
            (3) payments under the September 11th Victim 
        Compensation Fund of 2001 (49 U.S.C. 40101 note; Public 
        Law 107-42).

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    [(k) For purposes of this section, if a public safety 
officer dies as the direct and proximate result of a heart 
attack or stroke, that officer shall be presumed to have died 
as the direct and proximate result of a personal injury 
sustained in the line of duty, if--
            [(1) that officer, while on duty--
                    [(A) engaged in a situation, and such 
                engagement involved nonroutine stressful or 
                strenuous physical law enforcement, fire 
                suppression, rescue, hazardous material 
                response, emergency medical services, prison 
                security, disaster relief, or other emergency 
                response activity; or
                    [(B) participated in a training exercise, 
                and such participation involved nonroutine 
                stressful or strenuous physical activity;
            [(2) that officer died as a result of a heart 
        attack or stroke suffered--
                    [(A) while engaging or participating as 
                described under paragraph (1);
                    [(B) while still on that duty after so 
                engaging or participating; or
                    [(C) not later than 24 hours after so 
                engaging or participating; and
            [(3) such presumption is not overcome by competent 
        medical evidence to the contrary.]
    (k) As determined by the Bureau, a heart attack, stroke, or 
vascular rupture suffered by a public safety officer shall be 
presumed to constitute a personal injury within the meaning of 
subsection (a), sustained in the line of duty by the officer 
and directly and proximately resulting in death, if--
            (1) the public safety officer, while on duty--
                    (A) engages in a situation involving 
                nonroutine stressful or strenuous physical law 
                enforcement, fire suppression, rescue, 
                hazardous material response, emergency medical 
                services, prison security, disaster relief, or 
                other emergency response activity; or
                    (B) participates in a training exercise 
                involving nonroutine stressful or strenuous 
                physical activity;
            (2) the heart attack, stroke, or vascular rupture 
        commences--
                    (A) while the officer is engaged or 
                participating as described in paragraph (1);
                    (B) while the officer remains on that duty 
                after being engaged or participating as 
                described in paragraph (1); or
                    (C) not later than 24 hours after the 
                officer is engaged or participating as 
                described in paragraph (1); and
            (3) the heart attack, stroke, or vascular rupture 
        directly and proximately results in the death of the 
        public safety officer,
unless competent medical evidence establishes that the heart 
attack, stroke, or vascular rupture was unrelated to the 
engagement or participation or was directly and proximately 
caused by something other than the mere presence of 
cardiovascular-disease risk factors.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (n) The public safety agency, organization, or unit 
responsible for maintaining on file an executed designation of 
beneficiary or executed life insurance policy for purposes of 
subsection (a)(4) shall maintain the confidentiality of the 
designation or policy in the same manner as the agency, 
organization, or unit maintains personnel or other similar 
records of the public safety officer.

                              LIMITATIONS

    Sec. 1202. No benefit shall be paid under this part--
            (1) if the [death] fatal or catastrophic injury was 
        caused by the intentional misconduct of the public 
        safety officer or by such officer's intention to bring 
        about his death [or catastrophic injury], disability, 
        or injury;
            (2) if the public safety officer was voluntarily 
        intoxicated at the time of his [death] fatal or 
        catastrophic injury;
            (3) if the public safety officer was performing his 
        duties in a grossly negligent manner at the time of his 
        [death] fatal or catastrophic injury;
            (4) to any individual who would otherwise be 
        entitled to a benefit under this part if such 
        individual's actions were a substantial contributing 
        factor to the [death] fatal or catastrophic injury of 
        the public safety officer; or

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


NATIONAL PROGRAMS FOR FAMILIES OF PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS [WHO HAVE DIED 
IN THE LINE OF DUTY] WHO HAVE SUSTAINED FATAL OR CATASTROPHIC INJURY IN 
                            THE LINE OF DUTY

    Sec. 1203. The Director is authorized to use no less than 
$150,000 of the funds appropriated for this part to maintain 
and enhance national peer support and counseling programs to 
assist families of public safety officers [who have died in the 
line of duty] who have sustained fatal or catastrophic injury 
in the line of duty.

                              DEFINITIONS

    Sec. 1204. As used in this part--
            (1) ``catastrophic injury'' means [consequences of 
        an injury that] an injury, the direct and proximate 
        consequences of which permanently prevent an individual 
        from performing any gainful work;

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

            (3) ``child'' means any natural, illegitimate, 
        adopted, or posthumous child or stepchild of a deceased 
        or permanently and totally disabled public safety 
        officer who, at the time of the public safety officer's 
        [death] fatal or catastrophic injury, is--
                    [(i)] (A) 18 years of age or under;
                    [(ii)] (B) over 18 years of age and a 
                student as defined in section 8101 of title 5, 
                United States Code; or
                    [(iii)] (C) over 18 years of age and 
                incapable of self-support because of physical 
                or mental disability;

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

            (5) ``intoxication'' means a disturbance of mental 
        or physical faculties resulting from the introduction 
        of alcohol into the body as evidence by--
                    [(i)] (A) a [post-mortem] post-injury blood 
                alcohol level of .20 per centum or greater; or
                    [(ii)] (B) a [post-mortem] post-injury 
                blood alcohol level of at least .10 per centum 
                but less than .20 per centum unless the Bureau 
                receives convincing evidence that the public 
                safety officer was not acting in an intoxicated 
                manner immediately prior to his death;
        or resulting from drugs or other substances in the 
        body;

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

            (7) ``member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew'' 
        means an officially recognized or designated [public 
        employee member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew;] 
        employee or volunteer member of a rescue squad or 
        ambulance crew (including a ground or air ambulance 
        service) that--
                    (A) is a public agency; or
                    (B) is (or is a part of) a nonprofit entity 
                serving the public that--
                            (i) is officially authorized or 
                        licensed to engage in rescue activity 
                        or to provide emergency medical 
                        services; and
                            (ii) engages in rescue activities 
                        or provides emergency medical services 
                        as part of an official emergency 
                        response system;

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

            (9) ``public safety officer'' means--
                    (A) an individual serving a public agency 
                in an official capacity, with or without 
                compensation, as a law enforcement officer, as 
                a firefighter, [as a chaplain, or as a member 
                of a rescue squad or ambulance crew;] or as a 
                chaplain;
                    (B) an employee of the Federal Emergency 
                Management Agency who is performing official 
                duties of the Agency in an area, if those 
                official duties--
                            (i) * * *
                            (ii) are determined by the Director 
                        of the Federal Emergency Management 
                        Agency to be hazardous duties; [or]
                    (C) an employee of a State, local, or 
                tribal emergency management or civil defense 
                agency who is performing official duties in 
                cooperation with the Federal Emergency 
                Management Agency in an area, if those official 
                duties--
                            (i) * * *
                            (ii) are determined by the head of 
                        the agency to be hazardous duties[.]; 
                        or
                    (D) a member of a rescue squad or ambulance 
                crew who, as authorized or licensed by law and 
                by the applicable agency or entity, is engaging 
                in rescue activity or in the provision of 
                emergency medical services.

                       ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS

    Sec. 1205. (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (d) Unless expressly provided otherwise, any reference in 
this part to any provision of law not in this part shall be 
understood to constitute a general reference under the doctrine 
of incorporation by reference, and thus to include any 
subsequent amendments to the provision.

   Subpart 2--Educational Assistance to Dependents of Public Safety 
Officers Killed or Disabled in the Line of Duty

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 1212. BASIC ELIGIBILITY.

    (a) Benefits.--(1) [Subject to the availability of 
appropriations, the] The Attorney General shall provide 
financial assistance to a [dependent] person who attends a 
program of education and is--
            (A) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (2) Except as provided in paragraph (3), financial 
assistance under this subpart shall consist of direct payments 
to an eligible [dependent] person and shall be computed on the 
basis set forth in section 3532 of title 38, United States 
Code.
    (3) The financial assistance referred to in paragraph (2) 
shall be [reduced by the sum of--
            [(A) the amount of educational assistance benefits 
        from other Federal, State, or local governmental 
        sources to which the eligible dependent would otherwise 
        be entitled to receive; and
            [(B) the amount] reduced by the amount, if any, 
        determined under section 1214(b).
    (b) Duration of Benefits.--No [dependent] person shall 
receive assistance under this subpart for a period in excess of 
forty-five months of full-time education or training or a 
proportional period of time for a part-time program.
    (c) Age Limitation for [Dependent] Children.--No 
[dependent] child shall be eligible for assistance under this 
subpart after the child's 27th birthday absent a finding by the 
Attorney General of extraordinary circumstances precluding the 
child from pursuing a program of education.

SEC. 1213. APPLICATIONS; APPROVAL.

    (a) * * *
    (b) Approval.--The Attorney General shall approve an 
application for assistance under this subpart unless the 
Attorney General finds that--
            (1) the [dependent] person is not eligible for, is 
        no longer eligible for, or is not entitled to the 
        assistance for which application is made;
            (2) the [dependent's] person's selected educational 
        institution fails to meet a requirement under this 
        subpart for eligibility;

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

            (4) the [dependent] person already is qualified by 
        previous education or training for the educational, 
        professional, or vocational objective for which the 
        educational program is offered.
    (c) Notification.--The Attorney General shall notify a 
[dependent] person applying for assistance under this subpart 
of approval or disapproval of the application in writing.

SEC. 1214. REGULATIONS.

    (a) * * *
    (b) Sliding Scale.--Notwithstanding section 1213(b), the 
Attorney General shall issue regulations regarding the use of a 
sliding scale based on financial need to ensure that an 
eligible [dependent] person who is in financial need receives 
priority in receiving funds under this subpart.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 1216. SPECIAL RULE.

    (a) Retroactive Eligibility.--Notwithstanding any other 
provision of law, [each dependent] a spouse or child of a 
Federal law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty on 
or after January 1, 1978, and [each dependent] a spouse or 
child of a public safety officer killed in the line of duty on 
or after January 1, 1978, shall be eligible for assistance 
under this subpart, subject to the other limitations of this 
subpart.
    (b) Retroactive Assistance.--The Attorney General may 
provide retroactive assistance to [dependents] a person 
eligible under this section for each month in which the 
[dependent] person pursued a program of education at an 
eligible educational institution. The Attorney General shall 
apply the limitations contained in this subpart to retroactive 
assistance.
    (c) Prospective Assistance.--The Attorney General may 
provide prospective assistance to [dependents] a person 
eligible under this section on the same basis as assistance to 
[dependents] a person otherwise eligible. In applying the 
limitations on assistance under this subpart, the Attorney 
General shall include assistance provided retroactively. A 
[dependent] person eligible under this section may waive 
retroactive assistance and apply only for prospective 
assistance on the same basis as [dependents] a person otherwise 
eligible.

SEC. 1217. DEFINITIONS.

    For purposes of this subpart:
            (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

            (3) The term ``eligible educational institution'' 
        means an institution which--
                    (A) is [described in section 481 of the 
                Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1088), 
                as in effect on the date of the enactment of 
                this section; and] an institution of higher 
                education, as defined in section 102 of the 
                Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1002); 
                and

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                              ----------                              


   UNITING AND STRENGTHENING AMERICA BY PROVIDING APPROPRIATE TOOLS 
 REQUIRED TO INTERCEPT AND OBSTRUCT TERRORISM (USA PATRIOT ACT) ACT OF 
                                  2001



           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
 TITLE VI--PROVIDING FOR VICTIMS OF TERRORISM, PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS, 
                           AND THEIR FAMILIES

         Subtitle A--Aid to Families of Public Safety Officers

SEC. 611. EXPEDITED PAYMENT FOR PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS INVOLVED IN THE 
                    PREVENTION, INVESTIGATION, RESCUE, OR RECOVERY 
                    EFFORTS RELATED TO A TERRORIST ATTACK.

    (a) In General.--Notwithstanding the limitations of 
subsection (b) of section 1201 or the provisions of subsections 
(c), (d), and (e) of such section or section 1202 of title I of 
the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 
U.S.C. 3796, 3796a), upon certification (containing 
identification of all eligible payees of benefits pursuant to 
section 1201 of such Act) by a public agency that a public 
safety officer employed by such agency or an entity described 
in section 1204(7)(B) of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe 
Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796b(7)(B)) was killed or 
suffered a catastrophic injury producing permanent and total 
disability as a direct and proximate result of a personal 
injury sustained in the line of duty as described in section 
1201 of such Act in connection with prevention, investigation, 
rescue, or recovery efforts related to a terrorist attack, the 
Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance shall authorize 
payment to qualified beneficiaries, said payment to be made not 
later than 30 days after receipt of such certification, 
benefits described under subpart 1 of part L of such Act (42 
U.S.C. 3796 et seq.).

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                              ----------                              


                     INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OF 1986



           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
Subtitle A--Income Taxes

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 1--NORMAL TAXES AND SURTAXES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Subchapter D--Deferred Compensation, Etc

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


        PART I--PENSION, PROFIT-SHARING, STOCK BONUS PLANS, ETC

Subpart A--General Rule

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 402. TAXABILITY OF BENEFICIARY OF EMPLOYEES' TRUST.

    (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (l) Distributions from Governmental Plans for Health and 
Long-Term Care Insurance.--
            (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

            (4) Definitions.--For purposes of this subsection--
                    (A) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                    (C) Public safety officer.--The term 
                ``public safety officer'' shall have the same 
                meaning given such term by [section 1204(9)(A)] 
                section 1204(10)(A) of the Omnibus Crime 
                Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 ([42 
                U.S.C. 3796b(9)(A)] 42 U.S.C. 3796b(10)(A)).

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                              ----------                              


                 CONSOLIDATED APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008



           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
     DIVISION B--COMMERCE, JUSTICE, SCIENCE, AND RELATED AGENCIES 
APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                                TITLE II

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Office of Justice Programs

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                    PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS BENEFITS

    For payments and expenses authorized by part L of title I 
of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 
U.S.C. 3796), such sums as are necessary, as authorized by 
section 6093 of Public Law 100-690 (102 Stat. 4339-4340) 
(including amounts for administrative costs, which amounts 
shall be paid to the ``Justice Assistance'' account), to remain 
available until expended; and $4,854,000 for payments 
authorized by section 1201(b) of such Act; and $3,980,000 for 
educational assistance, as authorized by section 1212 of such 
Act: Provided, That, hereafter, funds available to conduct 
appeals under section 1205(c) of the 1968 Act, which includes 
all claims processing, shall be available also for the same 
under subpart 2 of such part L and under any statute 
authorizing payment of benefits described under subpart 1 
thereof, and for appeals from final [decisions] determinations 
of the Bureau (under such part or any such statute) to the 
Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which shall have 
exclusive jurisdiction thereof [(including those, and any 
related matters, pending)], and for expenses of representation 
of hearing examiners (who shall be presumed irrebuttably to 
enjoy quasi-judicial immunity in the discharge of their duties 
under such part or any such statute) in connection with 
litigation against them arising from such discharge[.]: 
Provided further, That, on and after the date of enactment of 
the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Improvements Act of 2012, 
as to each such statute--
            (1) the provisions of section 1001(a)(4) of such 
        title I (42 U.S.C. 3793(a)(4)) shall apply;
            (2) payment (other than payment made pursuant to 
        section 611 of the Uniting and Strengthening America by 
        Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and 
        Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001 (42 
        U.S.C. 3796c-1)) shall be made only upon a 
        determination by the Bureau that the facts legally 
        warrant the payment;
            (3) any reference to section 1202 of such title I 
        shall be deemed to be a reference to paragraphs (2) and 
        (3) of such section 1202; and
            (4) a certification submitted under any such 
        statute (other than a certification submitted pursuant 
        to section 611 of the Uniting and Strengthening America 
        by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept 
        and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001 
        (42 U.S.C. 3796c-1)) may be accepted by the Bureau as 
        prima facie evidence of the facts asserted in the 
        certification:
  Provided further, That, on and after the date of enactment of 
the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Improvements Act of 2012, 
no appeal shall bring any final determination of the Bureau 
before any court for review unless notice of appeal is filed 
(within the time specified herein and in the manner prescribed 
for appeal to United States courts of appeals from United 
States district courts) not later than 90 days after the date 
on which the Bureau serves notice of the final determination:  
Provided further,  That any regulations promulgated by the 
Bureau under such part (or any such statute) before, on, or 
after the date of enactment of the Public Safety Officers' 
Benefits Improvements Act of 2012 shall apply to any matter 
pending on, or filed or accruing after, the effective date 
specified in the regulations, except as the Bureau may, 
consistent with the interests of justice, indicate otherwise.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *