It seems like the effort to get federal legislation passed to combat organized retail crime has been a non-stop battle (you can find a little history on the effort here, here and here, if you're interested). While there's been some progress at the state level to increase the charges for participating in organize retail (Pennsylvania passed legislation in June making it a felony to participate at any level in ORC activity) there's been a stalemate at the federal level.
That is until this week. On Sept. 28, the House passed the Organized Retail Theft Investigation and Prosecution Act of 2010. This legislation will create a unit inside the U.S. Department of Justice to form a task force to investigate and prosecute ORC. The department has been authorized $5 million towards this effort (although that doesn't necessarily mean they'll actually receive the full allotted amount).
I spoke with John Emling, senior vice president of government affairs for RILA, about the legislation and he said providing this type of funding will give retailers and law enforcement agencies one place to go for the necessary resources to combat ORC and prosecute offenders. In case you missed the recent story about the city of Roseville's effort to combat ORC, adequate funding is often the most critical component to fighting ORC.
Emling said he is hopeful that the Senate will pass the bill during the lame duck session after Congress reconvenes after Nov. 15. Retailers and law enforcement have been waiting for years for this, a few more months won't kill them.