Today, the House Judiciary Committee approved H.R. 6062, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2012 by voice vote. The legislation, introduced by U.S. Representative Tom Marino, reauthorizes the Byrne JAG program, which is the primary provider of federal criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions, for an additional five years.
Marino's bill, H.R. 6062, would authorize funding for the Byrne JAG grant program at $800 million per year, lower than the $1.1 billion current authorization level, but higher than the $470 million funding in FY 2012. Since 2005, the program has never been funded above the $625.5 million level.
The JAG program provides state and local governments with the resources to support a wide range of law enforcement activities including, prosecution, prevention, education, planning, corrections, treatment, evaluation, and technology.
"As a former district attorney and United States Attorney, I understand the tremendous value of JAG funded projects in fighting crime by improving the processes, procedures, and operations of criminal justice systems," Marino said. "It is essential that we provide law enforcement officers with all the necessary tools for combating crime in our communities. Without the ability to carry out such programs effectively and efficiently, our cities and neighborhoods will no longer be able to address their most pressing challenges."
Introduced with eight original co-sponsors, the legislation enjoys broad, bi-partisan support from Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), as well as Judiciary Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI).
"I am pleased that we have been able to quickly move this bill through the Judiciary Committee and I am confident it will go on to the House floor without delay. Local law enforcement agencies and officials need nothing less than our full support in combating crime on every level," said Marino.