President Obama Signs Slain Officer Family Support Act of 2015 Into Law
Washington, DC – Yesterday, President Obama signed into law the Slain Officer Family Support Act of 2015. The bill was authored by Rep. Jeffries (D-NY) and co-sponsored by Rep. Peter King (R-NY) in the House of Representatives. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) led the effort to pass the bill in the Senate.
The legislation extends the tax deadline so that individuals making charitable donations to organizations supporting the families of assassinated New York Police Department (NYPD) Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos can apply such tax deductions to their 2014 tax return. Prior to enactment, individuals contributing to organizations that provide financial support to the families of the slain detectives were required to make their contributions by December 31 of last year to qualify for a tax deduction in connection with a 2015 filing. The legislation extends the date of eligibility.
As a result of this law, charitable contributions made by this year’s April 15 tax filing deadline will be deductible immediately. The bill also provides a clarification that contributions made for the relief of the Liu or Ramos families qualify as charitable contributions, for tax purposes, addressing the concern about whether such donations are eligible for the charitable tax deduction because the contributions are for the exclusive benefit of the two families. The law retroactively applies to any contribution made during the 2015 calendar year.
Rep. Jeffries said: “The assassination of Detective Ramos and Detective Liu was a national tragedy, and it required a national response. We cannot bring these heroes back, but we must do everything possible to support the families they left behind. The passage of this law is a step forward in the healing process, and provides an immediate tax benefit to those who did the right thing in supporting the families of these slain detectives.”
Rep. King said: “The government has a moral duty to reward those who step forward in times of tragedy. The Slain Officer Family Support Act is critical to ensuring that those who kindly assist the families of slain NYPD Officers Liu and Ramos are rewarded.”
Senator Schumer said: “Because NYPD Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos gave their lives in the protection of their fellow citizens, we have a sacred duty to honor their sacrifice and support their suffering families. That is why I am so proud that the Senate and House came together in a bi-partisan fashion to pass this legislation – originally crafted by my friend, Representative Hakeem Jeffries – that appropriately rewards the generous individuals in New York and across the country that made charitable donations to these families. It is the right thing to do,” said Senator Schumer.
Bill Johnson, Executive Director of the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) said: “NAPO is grateful to Congressmen Jeffries and King for introducing the Slain Officer Family Support Act of 2015. This important legislation will ensure continued support to the families of two heroes who dedicated their lives to public service, NYPD Detectives Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. As we continue to mourn the loss of these officers, who were members of NAPO, it is critical that we provide their families with every available resource. We stand ready to support any efforts necessary to ensure this bill becomes law.”
On December 20, 2014, while sitting in their marked patrol car, NYPD Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were approached from behind and, with no warning, shot at point-blank range in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood represented by Rep. Jeffries. Liu and Ramos, both Brooklyn residents, had been assigned to patrol the Tompkins Public Housing Development as a part of a “critical-response detail” deployed due to an uptick in violence there over the past year.
Detective Ramos, 40, joined the NYPD two years ago and is survived by a wife and two sons, ages 13 and 19. Detective Liu, 32, is survived by his newlywed wife and his immigrant parents. Congress enacted similar laws in both 2014 (Public Law 113-92) and 2010 (Public Law 111-126) to encourage donations to the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda and to Haiti after they suffered from a major earthquake.