By Meredith Mays, Legislative Representative, IACP
ust before the fall congressional recess, the president signed a temporary continuing resolution to fund the government through the beginning of fiscal year (FY) 2009—until March 6. A continuing resolution provides funds matching the current FY’s level of funding. In some cases, lawmakers also decide to add additional funds when necessary.
The table below highlights funding levels for the primary law enforcement assistance grants administered through the Department of Justice.There is no change from the current level of funding. However, because this continuing resolution funds the government only until March 6, Congress will reconvene then and pass a new spending bill for the remainder of FY 2009.
Congress also passed appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), but did so for all of FY 2009. The next table highlights funding levels for the primary law enforcement assistance grants administered through the DHS.
As Congress continues the FY 2009 appropriations process for grants administered under the Department of Justice, the IACP will continue to keep members informed of developments.
Biden Introduces Homeland Security and Law Enforcement Improvements Act
Senator Joseph Biden (D–Delaware) recently introduced S. 3524, the Homeland Security and Law Enforcement Improvements Act of 2008. According to a press release from Senator Biden, S. 3524 “improves preparation, prevention and incident response by ensuring that homeland security strategies incorporate the expertise and manpower of state, local and tribal law enforcement.”1
Specifically, S. 3524 does the following:
- Makes the DHS assistant secretary for state and local law enforcement (hereafter referred to as the assistant secretary) responsible for overseeing Law Enforcement Deployment Teams, the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP), the Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program (CEDAP), and the Information Sharing Resource Center
- Authorizes $500 million for the LETPP per program year and advises the DHS to submit an annual report to Congress detailing goals and recommendations for the nation’s terrorism prevention strategy
- Extends CEDAP so that it may continue to provide equipment and training to jurisdictions where they are needed
- Requires the assistant secretary to establish, within six months, guidelines, funding, and a strategy for implementing Law Enforcement Deployment Teams
- Requires the assistant secretary to develop an Information Sharing Resource Center to act as a central source of technical assistance for intelligence sharing among federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies
The legislation is currently under review in the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The IACP will advise members of any developments concerning S. 3524.
VAWA to Take Effect in January
The Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization of 2005 (VAWA), which became law in 2006, will take effect on January 5, 2009.
The most notable changes that VAWA mandates are that victims of sexual assault are no longer required to cooperate with law enforcement officials to obtain a forensic medical exam, and victims are no longer required to pay for the medical exam. VAWA also gives jurisdictions the option to establish blind or anonymous reporting systems to enhance reporting of sexual assaults to law enforcement agencies, but no such system is required.
The Department of Justice, which is charged with administering VAWA, did not issue formal regulations concerning compliance with the new VAWA law. However, to help states and localities better understand the provisions of VAWA, the Justice Department lists more information on the Web site of its Office on Violence Against Women: www.ovw.usdoj.gov. ■
1Biden Bill Strengthens Our First Line of Defense against Terrorism,” press release, September 19, 2008, http://biden.senate.gov/press/press_releases/release/?id=1944CA82-9B4E-4443-A961-0AF8E8B1E86E (accessed October 10, 2008).