Recap of the Capital Conference

NDAA Executive Director Nelson Bunn welcomes attendees to the 2020 Capital Conference.

NDAA was joined by over one-hundred state and local prosecutors at our annual Capital Conference held from January 28-29th in Washington, DC. Attendees heard from a wide variety of speakers engaged in public policy issues impacting prosecutors, while also meeting with individual members of Congress and state delegations. The conference allowed NDAA’s members to provide the prosecutor’s perspective on important legislative issues facing the 116th Congress.

On Tuesday the conference opened with sessions that allowed NDAA’s members to hear directly from distinguished speakers from across the political spectrum including:

  • Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO) joined NDAA to lay out her legislative agenda including her goal to tackle the issue of encryption with a focus on requiring technology companies to comply with lawful court orders.
  • Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) stressed the importance of continuing to build on the successful bipartisan, criminal justice reform First Step Act by supporting legislation that assists prisoners in successfully re-entering society.
  • Deputy Staff Director and Chief Counsel of the House Committee on the Judiciary Robert Parmiter led a discussion about the policy priorities of the Republican members of the Judiciary Committee, as well as how the upcoming election will impact Congress’s work as the 116th Congress comes to close.
  • CEO of the Actus Foundation Michael Gray shared the emotional story of his own family’s struggle with the fentanyl crisis. Mr. Gray spoke specifically to the temporary scheduling order that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) placed on all fentanyl synthetics.

The first day of the conference concluded with two strategy and planning sessions. One was hosted by NDAA Legislative Committee Chair and State’s Attorney, Pennington County, SD, Mark Vargo and State’s Attorney for Frederick County, MD Charlie Smith. In it, attendees discussed advocacy strategies to engage Members and staff on Capitol Hill. Finally, NDAA’s Executive Director Nelson Bunn and Director of Government and Legislative Affairs Frank Russo concluded the day with a conversation about NDAA’s 2020 legislative priorities.

The following day conference attendees went to work sharing NDAA’s legislative priorities on Capitol Hill. Priorities such as the John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program and updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act were discussed in various meetings. Following a successful day of advocating on the Hill, attendees and NDAA staff concluded the Capital Conference with a reception in the Rayburn Foyer. Over one-hundred Congressional staff joined us for a night celebrating NDAA’s legislative efforts.

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