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

March 09, 2022

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 FY2022 funding bills: Homeland Security; Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies; and Financial Services and General Government.

“With the surge in violent crime across the nation, it is more important than ever to ensure law enforcement personnel have the resources they need to keep our communities safe,” 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 increases support for 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. We are grateful for all of the law enforcement officers and first responders, and their families, who face danger every day to keep others safe.”

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. 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 a total of $645 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program, of which $125 million is for Nonprofit Security Grants, a $35 million increase above FY2021 levels. The bill includes an additional $125 million for Nonprofit Security Grants through the Urban Area Security Initiative Program, a $35 million increase above FY2021 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:

• Ozarks Health and Life Science Center: The legislation provides a total of $50 million from the CJS and Labor/Health and Human Services appropriations bills for the Ozarks Health and Life Science Center to facilitate health, medical, and scientific research and education programs on the campus of Missouri State University (MSU) in Springfield, Missouri. This new space will be used for classrooms, labs, and offices to support STEM, health, and life sciences research and academic programs, to help accommodate expanded enrollment in the sciences at MSU and meet educational and scientific research needs.

• Southeast Missouri State University Law Enforcement Academy: The legislation provides $1.5 million to improve and expand training, including de-escalation training, for Southeast Missouri State University Law Enforcement Academy students and continuing education programs.

Victims of Child Abuse Program: The legislation provides $33 million for the Victims of Child Abuse program, a $3 million increase over FY2021. 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.

John R. Justice (JRJ) Program: The legislation provides $4 million for the JRJ program, a $2 million increase over FY2021. This program 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.

Regional Innovation (RI) Program: The bill provides $45 million, a $7 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. 

De-escalation Technologies: The legislation includes language recognizing the importance of virtual reality de-escalation training and the use of humane remote restraint devices to help law enforcement de-escalate confrontations with non-compliant subjects and avoid potentially lethal use of force, and indicating that Byrne Justice Assistance Grant funding can be used for such purposes.

Midwest Regional Task Force: The legislation directs the United States Marshals Service to consider regions, such as the Midwest, when contemplating the establishment of new Regional Fugitive Task Forces (RFTF).  Kansas City, Mo., St. Louis, Mo., and other Midwest cities suffered a sudden surge of violent crime last summer, and a congressionally funded RFTF for the Midwest would help provide the resources necessary to capture fugitives and reduce violent crime.

Financial Services and General Government:

• Truman Library: The legislation includes $11.5 million for the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum to transform its grounds into an important national heritage site and engaging resource for the local community by reimagining, repurposing, and reconfiguring the property surrounding the Truman Library.

High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program (HIDTA): The bill includes $296.6 million for the Blunt-backed HIDTA program, a $6.6 million increase over FY2021. 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.

Drug-Free Communities Program: The legislation provides $106 million for the Drug-Free Communities Program, a $4 million increase over FY2021. This program helps fund community-based coalitions that work to prevent youth substance use.

Harry S Truman Scholarship Foundation: The legislation provides $2.5 million for the Harry S Truman Scholarship Foundation, an increase over FY2021. 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.

 


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