STATE JUSTICE INSTITUTE REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2004 -- (House of Representatives - October 08, 2004)
Mr. CANNON. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to take from the Speaker's table the bill (H.R. 2714) to reauthorize the State Justice Institute, with a Senate amendment thereto and concur in the Senate amendment.
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Mr. LoBIONDO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act included in the State Justice Institute Reauthorization Act of 2004. This legislation reauthorizes the Grant program until 2007. The current authorization expired on September 30, 2004. Congress has overwhelmingly approved this program twice, both in the 105th Congress and the 106th Congress. The Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant program has directly benefited every U.S. state and territory.
A bulletproof vest is one of the most important pieces of equipment an officer can have. Many times the vest can mean the difference between life and death. Every day, law enforcement officers are confronted by violent criminals armed with deadly weapons. While many officers wear vests to protect themselves, an alarming number of officers across the United States are not afforded this same protection because of local budget constraints. The Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant program has helped state and local law enforcement to purchase vests. These funds have saved countless lives across the nation.
We must protect those who risk their lives every day protecting our communities. This program has provided more than 1 million of these life saving vests since its inception. In 2004 alone, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant program provided $25 million to state and local law enforcement agencies across America. In turn, this funding helped provide more than 175,000 new bulletproof vests giving vital protection to thousands of law enforcement officer nationwide.
Due to the success of this program, grant applications have steadily increased annually since the program's enactment, yet many municipalities are denied grants due to a lack of funding for the program. This reauthorization will provide an additional three years to work toward full funding for this program, enabling more law enforcement officers to have access to these lifesaving vests.
Please join me as we work together to save more lives, and give our law enforcement officers the necessary tools they need to help them keep our communities safe.
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