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Back to Archives | Back to November 2004 Contents 

Legislative Alert

President Bush Signs Homeland Security Funding Bill

By Jennifer Boyter, IACP Legislative Analyst



n October 18, President Bush signed into law the fiscal year 2005 homeland security appropriations bill (H.R. 4567). The bill will provide $33.1 billion for the Department of Homeland Security.

The bill will increase the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) overall budget by $2.8 billion, or 9 percent, over fiscal 2004 levels. It is $896 million (3 percent) greater than the president’s budget request.

However, under the bill, state and local law enforcement would face significant cuts in their three primary homeland security grant programs: the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSG), the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP), and the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI).

In total, these three grant programs will receive $2.385 billion, which represents a decrease of $681 million, or 22 percent, from fiscal year 2004. It is a decrease of $261 million, or 9.9 percent, from the president’s request.

Specifically, the bill provides $1.1 billion for the State Homeland Security Grant program. This is a decrease of $600 million from fiscal year 2004, a cut of 35 percent. These grants are allocated to the states on a formula basis. Upon receipt of the funds, the states are required to pass on 80 percent of the funds to local governments within 60 days.

It is important to note that these funds are not designated solely for law enforcement use but can be used to fund a wide range of other public safety agencies (fire, EMS, emergency management, public works, and so on) that have responsibilities related to preparing or responding to terrorist attacks.

The House version of the bill had allocated $1.25 billion for this program. The Senate would have funded it at $970 million, while the president requested just $700 million.

The bill will fund the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP) at $400 million, down $100 million (20%) from fiscal year 2004. These funds are designated solely for the use of state and local law enforcement agencies. Like the SHSG funds, they are provided to the states on a formula basis, and states are required to transfer 80 percent of the funds within 60 days. These funds can only be used to cover the cost associated with homeland security-related planning, organization, training, and exercises. It can also be used to purchase equipment from an authorized equipment list maintained by DHS. The program also allows for overtime costs specifically related to homeland security efforts.

The president had requested $500 million for the program. The House version provided $500 million, while the Senate allocated $400 million.

The bill will provide $885 million for the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), which is allocated through the states to urban area to enhance their overall security and preparedness level to prevent, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism. The urban areas are chosen by DHS based on a formula that takes into account factors such as critical infrastructure, population density, and credible threat information. In fiscal year 2004, 50 urban areas received these funds.

This represents a slight increase over fiscal year 2004, in which the program received $866 million. The President had requested $1.446 billion, while the House provided $1 billion, and the Senate $1.2 billion.

As they did last year, Senate Democrats protested the cuts for first responders. They offered several amendments in an attempt to increase funding, none of which passed.

In addition, the bill allocates $9.8 billion for border protection, $5.7 billion for the Transportation Security Administration and Federal Air Marshals Service, $1.1 billion for anti-terror science and technology, and $894 million for intelligence, information sciences, and infrastructure protection.

President Signs DNA Victims’ Rights Bill

After weeks of negotiation, and just days after it was declared dead for the year, the Senate approved a bill (H.R. 5107) that will provide over $1 billion in funding and assistance for DNA analysis and training. In addition, the bill will confer eight specific rights on crime victims. The bill was signed by President Bush on October 30.

The bill combines President Bush’s initiative to spend $1 billion to reduce the backlog of evidence awaiting DNA testing with proposals that will assist state and local law enforcement expand the collection of DNA samples and evidence. Specifically, the bill would authorize $755 million over five years ($151 million per year) to eliminate the current backlog of more than 300,000 rape kits and other crime scene evidence awaiting DNA analysis in crime labs.
The measure authorizes $500 million for other new grant programs, including the following:

  • $62.5 million ($12.5 million per year through 2009) to provide DNA training and education for law enforcement, correctional personnel, and court officers

  • $150 million ($30 million per year through 2009) for training and education assistance for medical professionals using DNA samples and evidence

  • $75 million ($15 million per year through 2009) for research and development to improve forensic DNA technology

  • $42.1 million for FBI DNA programs

  • $50 million over five years in grants to state, local, and tribal governments to eliminate forensic science backlogs

  • $10 million over five years to promote the use of DNA technology to identify missing persons and unidentified human remains


The bill also expands the Federal DNA database system (CODIS) to allow states to include the DNA profiles of all felons convicted of federal crimes and all people required to submit DNA samples, including those authorized by state law.

The bill also contains portions of the Innocence Protection Act, which aims to ensure that defendants in state capital punishment cases have access to adequate legal counsel and that death row inmates could use sophisticated new DNA testing to assert their innocence. It would also give selected federal inmates access to DNA testing that could lead to reversal of their convictions if they assert under penalty of perjury that they are not guilty.


 

From The Police Chief, vol. 71, no. 11, November 2004. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.








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