|For Immediate Release
July 10, 2012
Contact: Charlotte Sellmyer, 202-225-3951
Statement of Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith
Full Committee Markup of
H.R. 6062 the Byrne JAG Reauthorization Act of 2012
Chairman Smith: The Edward Byrne [Burn] Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program was established in 2005 when two existing federal grant programs were combined to create one streamlined grant program at the Justice Department for state and local criminal justice programs.
Byrne [Burn] JAG is the cornerstone of the federal government’s assistance to state and local law enforcement agencies and other criminal justice entities. Byrne JAG provides funds to states through a formula that is based on each state’s population and crime rate. A portion of the money is kept by the states themselves, but much of it is required by statute to be distributed to localities.
The Byrne JAG program has seven broadly-written purpose areas, which include support for law enforcement entities, the courts, prevention and education, and drug treatment and enforcement. States and localities know their unique law enforcement needs better than we here in Washington do.
Byrne JAG is intended to allow state and local governments the flexibility to decide how this money is best spent to address their specific criminal justice challenges.
Byrne JAG is currently authorized at approximately $1.1 billion a year through the end of the current fiscal year. In fiscal year 2012, Congress appropriated $470 million for the Byrne JAG program, although $100 million of these funds are a one-time set aside for this year’s presidential nomination conventions.
H.R. 6062, introduced by Mr. Marino, reauthorizes Byrne JAG at $800 million a year for five years.
Byrne JAG is a bipartisan program, and H.R. 6062 is a bipartisan bill. I urge my colleagues to join me in support of this legislation.