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Blunt Highlights Missouri Law Enforcement, First Responder Priorities in FY2021 Funding Bill

December 21, 2020

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Co-Chair of the Senate Law Enforcement Caucus, announced several Missouri priorities he worked to include in the following FY2021 funding bills: Homeland Security; Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies; and Financial Services and General Government. The bills are part of the larger government funding package that Congress is expected to consider shortly. 

“The pandemic has shined an even brighter spotlight on the incredible, life-saving work our first responders do every day,” said Blunt. “This bill invests in programs and policies to support police and fire departments, including grant programs that help departments purchase equipment, conduct training, and hire personnel. The bill maintains our focus on the investigation, treatment, and prosecution of child abuse cases. It supports improved coordination between local, state, and federal law enforcement to better combat major drug-trafficking organizations. And, in addition to our continued support for the drug-free communities programs and drug-court programs, the bill makes a new investment in an initiative to help address the root causes of recidivism. In a tight fiscal environment, these are all areas where smart, targeted federal investment goes a long way toward supporting state and local agencies and the important work they do to make our communities stronger and safer.”

Following are the Missouri priorities included in the funding bills:

Homeland Security:

·      Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Program (SAFER) and Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG): The bill provides $360 million each for the SAFER and AFG programs, $5 million above FY2020 levels. The SAFER program provides funding to hire firefighters, and the AFG program provides equipment to firefighters. Both programs help Missouri first responders fill gaps to provide firefighters with resources to support their communities. This year, and in previous years, Blunt sent a letter to the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee advocating for the SAFER and AFG programs.

·      Nonprofit Security Grant Program: The legislation provides $90 million for Urban Area Security Initiative grants, a $40 million increase above FY2020 levels. The bill also includes $90 million for nonprofit organizations, a $50 million increase above FY2020 levels. Blunt is a longtime supporter of the Nonprofit Security Grant program, which provides financial support to nonprofit organizations at high risk of a terrorist attack, such as religious and cultural centers, for physical security enhancements.

Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies:

·      Victims of Child Abuse Program: The legislation provides $30 million for the Victims of Child Abuse program, a $3 million increase over FY2020. Blunt’s bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Victims of Child Abuse Act (VOCAA) was signed into law in 2018. The bill provides funding for children’s advocacy centers that serve child abuse victims and help law enforcement hold perpetrators accountable. Missouri children’s advocacy centers served over 9,000 children in 2019.

·      John R. Justice (JRJ) Program: The legislation provides $2 million for the JRJ program, which provides loan repayment assistance for state public defenders and state prosecutors who agree to remain employed as public defenders and prosecutors for at least three years. The JRJ program eases the financial burden facing new attorneys who want to pursue careers in public service.

·      Reducing Recidivism: The legislation provides $4 million to fund grants to academic partners who can design and test models to expedite judicial review for technical violations of supervision, while linking individuals who commit technical violations to evidence-based services that address the root causes of recidivism. A successful study in St. Louis County, Mo., showed that it is possible to reduce unnecessary delay in reinstatement of probation after technical violations and thus the social and economic costs of that delay.

·      Regional Innovation (RI) Program: The bill provides $38 million, a $5 million increase from last year’s level, for the RI program, which provides operational support for local innovators and entrepreneurs to commercialize new ideas and technologies. The grants, administered by the Economic Development Administration, help translate innovative ideas into local job growth.  

·      Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP): The bill provides $150 million, a $4 million increase over FY2020, for MEP. MEP is a public-private partnership operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology in collaboration with centers in all 50 states. MEP serves as a bridge to other organizations and federal research labs focused on enhancing the manufacturing community. Missouri Enterprise in Rolla is part of the MEP program.

Financial Services and General Government:

·      Drug-Free Communities Program: The legislation provides $102 million for the Drug-Free Communities Program, an increase over FY2020. This program helps fund community-based coalitions that work to prevent youth substance use.

·      High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program (HIDTA): The bill includes $290 million for the Blunt-backed HIDTA program, a $5 million increase over FY2020. HIDTA is an effective and innovative initiative that provides critical assistance to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in combatting major drug-trafficking organizations across the country. Midwest HIDTA is located in Kansas City, Mo., and supports HIDTA law enforcement initiatives in six states.

·      Harry S Truman Scholarship Foundation: The legislation provides $2 million for the Harry S Truman Scholarship Foundation, an increase over FY2020. The Harry S Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as the sole federal memorial to President Truman supporting graduate education for young people committed to careers in public service. Washington University in St. Louis is one of seven schools with more than one 2020 Truman Scholar. In addition, Missouri is one of 10 states with more than one 2020 Truman Scholar.

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