By Meredith Ward, Manager, Legislative and Media Affairs, IACP
efore Congress recessed, both the House of Representatives and the Senate passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) that will fund the government through March 27, 2013. Typically a CR will authorize funding only at current levels, but this spending measure authorizes an across the board 0.6 percent increase. The CR includes grants administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to aid state, local, and tribal law enforcement.
The bill allocates $977 million (after carve outs) for all state and local programs administered by DHS through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Actual funding amounts are to be determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security. The allocation covers major law enforcement assistance programs such as the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), the State Homeland Security Grants (SHSG) and the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP), along with several other state, local and tribal assistance grants.
For grants administered through DOJ, the bill provides $198.2 million, including $141 million for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program (after carve outs). The COPS program seeks to fund critical programs for combating methamphetamine production and trafficking; tribal law enforcement; combating gun trafficking and reducing gang violence; hiring school resource officers; establishing school-based partnerships between local law enforcement agencies and local school systems to combat crime, gangs, and drug activities; paying officers hired to perform intelligence, antiterrorism, or homeland security duties; and recruiting inactive military personnel to pursue the law enforcement profession.
The bill also includes $352 million for the Edward R. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) (after carve outs). Byrne-JAG provides funds to assist states and units of local government in controlling and preventing drug abuse, crime, and violence, and in improving the criminal justice system.
Programs that assist state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies are valuable and critical resources that significantly strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to combat crime and violence and prevent terrorism in U.S. communities. Eliminating or reducing these programs would be devastating to the nearly 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States. The IACP will continue to work with members of Congress to educate them on the importance of these critical resources to the state, local, and tribal law enforcement communities. The IACP will also be working with DHS to provide education when considering specific allocation of grants DHS administers.
House Passes Byrne-JAG Reauthorization
The House of Representatives recently approved a reauthorization on Byrne-JAG—which was set to expire on September 30. (This is separate from the appropriations noted in the previous story.)
H.R. 6062, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2012, will provide an authorization level of $800 million through Fiscal Year 2017. H.R. 6062 enjoys broad, bi-partisan congressional support and is strongly supported by the IACP.
The bill was not passed by the Senate before it recessed. Therefore, the program cannot be authorized above its current level until the legislation is completely ratified. The Senate is set to take up the legislation when members return from their fall recess.
The House is also working on reauthorizing the COPS program, and that bill should be introduced sometime this fall.
IACP Fights Marijuana Legalization Proposals
The IACP continues to fight any and all proposals that would legalize or medically classify marijuana. The IACP membership has passed several resolutions that oppose any step towards marijuana legalization on the federal, state, or local level.
In late September, the IACP and the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) sent a joint letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder expressing concern over proposals in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. The letter read, “a number of states and localities that have relaxed their laws on marijuana have since expressed regret—as illegal activity and crime have increased in and around dispensaries and decriminalized zones.”
The letter continued, “Proponents mislead the public about the impact of marijuana legalization and assert that revenue from a marijuana tax will fund treatment, prevention, enforcement, and end drug-related violent crime.…the concept of marijuana legalization providing tax dollars to remedy all societal ills is simply not in touch with reality.”
To read the letter to Attorney General Holder, visit www.theiacp.org.
Additionally, in mid-October, the IACP participated in a press conference with former heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the National Narcotics Officers Association Coalition and the National Sheriffs’ Association, condemning the proposed state statutes and calling for their failure. The IACP will continue to fight any proposals that would legalize or decriminalize marijuana. ♦
Please cite as:
Meredith Ward, " Congress Passes Continuing Resolution," Legislative Alert, The Police Chief 79
(November 2012): 8.