Nov 16 2005

UPDATE: SHELBY SECURES FUNDING FOR IMPORTANT PROJECTS IN SOUTH ALABAMA

Senate Approves Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill Conference Report

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), Chairman of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee (CJS), today announced Senate approval of important projects in South Alabama included in the fiscal year 2006 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 94 - 5 and now heads to the President’s desk for his signature.  Earlier this year, Senator Shelby assumed the Chairmanship of the CJS Appropriations Subcommittee. The subcommittee's jurisdiction includes the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Economic Development Administration (EDA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Departments of Commerce and Justice among others.

Senator Shelby said, “I believe our bill strikes an important balance in funding by providing resources for all of the agencies and programs contained in this bill. Specifically, our bill includes $130 million for DNA and other forensic sciences, $28 million for specific crime lab improvements, and it restores funding for important law enforcement programs. The conference report provides $1.1 billion for State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance, $477 million for COPS, $342 million for Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, $68.3 million for Methamphetamine Enforcement Programs, and $48 million for Missing Children Programs. In addition, the bill includes $283 million for the EDA, $3.9 billion for NOAA that includes $5.8M for the National Hurricane Center, and $16.5 billion for NASA.”

Gulf Shrimp Bycatch and Reduction Research - $1 million

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased our bill includes $1 million for this important fisheries research project to protect and maintain the red snapper fishery.”

Fishing Effort Research - $2.3 million

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased our bill includes $2.3 million for the Southern Shrimp Industry Alliance to conduct research, collect data and provide analyses to determine and document shrimp industry fishing efforts in the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic.”

Mobile Bay Oyster Recovery Program at the University of South Alabama - $2.5 million

Senator Shelby said, “The University of South Alabama, in cooperation with the Alabama Department of Conservation, will use the $2.5 million included in this legislation to continue conducting surveys and work on the reseeding program in Mobile Bay. The program will attempt to restore productive oyster reefs in areas that have experienced reef loss due to environmental and harvesting factors. A resurgence of the oyster beds will significantly impact the water quality and clarity in Mobile Bay, as well as assist the Bay in fostering survival of sea grass meadows and marine species such as blue crab, sea trouts, and some snappers and grouper.”

Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force - $12 million

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased that our bill includes $12 million for the Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force (RFTF), which will be headquartered in Birmingham with sub-offices in Montgomery and Mobile, Alabama as well as Jackson and Oxford, Mississippi. The purpose of RFTF, which operates under the United States Marshals Service, is to combine the efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to locate and apprehend the most dangerous fugitives and assist in high profile investigations.”

Gulf Coast Fisheries and Ocean Research Facility - $5 million

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased that these funds were included for the construction of a NOAA fisheries lab at Dauphin Island. This new facility will focus on the issues and concerns associated with the Gulf and Mexico and its fisheries. The housing of the facility on the campus of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab will provide increased opportunities for collaborative research among federal, state and university researchers.”

Orange Beach Coastal and Estuarine Land Acquisition - $800,000

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased our bill includes $800,000 for the City of Orange Beach to acquire 84 acres of fringe marsh wetlands and wet pine flatwoods. This land acquisition will protect this area from development, while providing the potential to use this site as a wetlands mitigation site.”

Coastal Ecosystems - $5 million

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased our bill includes $5 million for land acquisition, from willing sellers only, along the Perdido River in Baldwin County and coastal wetlands near Grand Bay in Mobile County. This project would protect biologically sensitive lands in coastal Alabama including coastal wetlands, water quality and wildlife habitat. In addition, these funds will help increase recreational opportunities by providing more public access for hunting, fishing, and canoeing.”

SURA Coastal Ocean Observing System - $2.5 million

Senator Shelby said, “Included in our bill is $2.5 million for the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) Coastal Ocean Observing System. The goal of this program is to implement a system to provide comprehensive, real-time access to observational data and numerical forecasts of coastal hazards and threats as well as phenomena of routine interest to a host of operational stakeholders.”

Baldwin Educational Program - $1 million

Senator Shelby said, “The $1 million included in our bill will provide the funds for the development of estuarine educational programs in coordination with Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Dauphin Island Sea Lab.”

Gulf Coast Exploreum - $1 million

Senator Shelby said, “The Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center is an important regional science center providing interactive science exhibits and films dedicated to fostering science literacy. This is an important project that will increase opportunities for local students to learn more about science through hands-on activities.”

Wild American Shrimp Marketing - $5 million

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased our bill provides $5 million for the Southern Shrimp Industry Alliance’s marketing campaign to conduct research and develop new products and improve quality assurance of domestic wild shrimp from several southern states including Alabama.”

Coastal Weather Research Center at the University of South Alabama - $475,000

Senator Shelby said, “Our bill includes $475,000 for the University of South Alabama’s Coastal Weather Research Center. These funds will be used for weather monitoring equipment to measure wind gusts, water surge and rainfall levels, being particularly necessary in the event of a catastrophic event such as a hurricane. I believe this type of monitoring equipment is essential as we learn from the damage and destruction caused by hurricanes.”

National Maritime Center of the Gulf - $2 million

Senator Shelby said, “These funds will be used for educational exhibits and programs focusing on the ocean and the ecosystems it contains. I am pleased our bill includes these funds for these important programs at the National Maritime Center of the Gulf.”

Gulf State Consumer Education Program - $1 million

Senator Shelby said, “This funding will be used for the Gulf state regulatory agencies and Gulf state non-profit business associations to implement an effective education program focusing on Vibrio Vulnificus within their respective states. The industry council has proven the ability to produce and distribute invaluable information to consumers on the concerns with oyster consumption. In working with state regulatory agencies, the non-profits will be able to provide important information to educate the consumer and ensure that “at-risk” populations are properly informed and that the general public is an educated consumer.”

Gulf Oyster Industry Program - $1 million

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased this legislation includes $1 million to research new, innovative ways to grow and strengthen the Gulf oyster industry. This research is integral to the success of the Gulf oyster industry.”

Coastal and Inland Hurricane Monitoring and Prediction Program - $1.5 million Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased we provided $1.5 million to be used for hurricane intensity research in coordination with NOAA, the University of South Alabama and the National Data Buoy Center in Mississippi.”

Village Point Park Preserve - $1 million

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased our bill includes $1 million to be used for land acquisition for Village Point Park Preserve along the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay. This 54-acre historic park is home to seven Alabama State Champion trees, and its pristine natural beauty is available to the public.”

University of South Alabama - $2 million

Senator Shelby said, “Our bill includes $2 million to be used to develop a high peak power plasmoid thruster in conjunction with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.”

Millry Improvement Association - $25,000

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased our bill includes $25,00 for the Veteran’s Memorial in Millry. This important memorial will serve as a permanent reminder of the sacrifices made by so many of our nation’s citizens”

City of Monroeville Economic Development- $250,000

Senator Shelby said, “This important funding will be used for the Alabama Writers Hall of Honor and conference center. I believe the Hall can serve as a real economic engine for Monroeville and Monroe County and was pleased that we were able to include funding.”

City of Mobile- Bring Back Broad Street - $1 million

Senator Shelby said, “The Bring Back Broad Street initiative will redevelop Broad Street, which encircles Mobile’s central business district. This redevelopment will serve as a source of economic and cultural growth for all of Mobile.”

Alabama State Dock - $1.5 million

Senator Shelby said, “The continued growth of the Alabama State Docks is essential to economic development of our state. I am pleased that our bill provides $1.5 million for the Docks to conduct a turning basin study, as well as continue other development plans.”

Law Enforcement Technology and Interoperability Grants The bill also includes critical funding for the law enforcement community to upgrade technology, such as in car computers, cameras, and communications systems. The following grants will greatly assist law enforcement’s ability to protect and serve their communities.

• City of Gulf Shores for law enforcement upgrades - $250,000
• Mobile County Commission for a interoperable public safety radio system - $1 million
• City of Atmore, AL, for police department technology improvements - $160,000
• City of Mobile, AL, for consolidation of voice and data communications - $1 million
• City of Robertsdale, AL, for police department technology improvements - $150,000

Senator Shelby said, “We must continue to provide our police officers with the tools necessary to accomplish their mission completely and safely.”

Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Programs The bill provides funding for important at-risk youth programs and research. The following grants will provide for youth programs the funds necessary to work with at-risk juveniles and providing them with alternatives to delinquency, as well as providing researchers the opportunity to evaluate different methods of prevention and their effectiveness.

• City of Orange Beach AL for an after school teen activity program - $300,000
• Mobile County, AL, Commission for the Mobile County Youth Justice Program - $1 million
• Team Focus, Inc., mentoring and education program - $1 million
• University of Mobile's RamKids at risk youth intervention program - $1 million
• University of South Alabama for youth violence prevention research - $ 1 million

Senator Shelby said, “We must continue to work with our nation’s young people to provide them with the tools and training they need to become contributing members of society. These programs provide students with critical alternatives to crime and mischief.”

The following state and nationwide projects and programs are slated to receive funds in the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2006:

DNA Initiative and Forensic Sciences Funding $108.5 million for DNA initiative $28 million for specific crime lab improvements $18.5 million for Coverdell Grants $2 million Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for DNA case backlog

Senator Shelby said, “I believe this bill addresses the critical needs of our nation’s forensic labs to reduce backlogs in all areas and particularly in DNA, while providing critical flexibility to the men and women doing the work to determine their own priorities. Our bill includes significant funding for forensic sciences as a whole and particularly for the DNA initiative in an effort to eliminate the backlog in our nation’s forensics labs by dedicating $108.5 million specifically for the DNA initiative. In addition to this funding, the Committee has encouraged the Department to make use of $18.9 million that has gone unspent during fiscal year 2005 to further reduce the backlog. This bill also includes $18.5 million for the Paul Coverdell Forensics Grants. These grants have been made available to state and local forensics labs to address a variety of needs within the forensic sciences, including DNA analysis. To further that goal, the Conference Report maintains language included in the Senate passed bill that provides significant flexibility to allow State lab directors to use Coverdell dollars to address the pressing needs of their individual labs and make important decisions regarding the best use of federal resources, including DNA backlog reduction. I was also able to secure $2 million specifically for the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences’ DNA backlog reduction efforts. Finally, the bill includes $28 million for specific crime lab improvement projects."

Alabama District Attorneys Association for the Alabama Computer Forensics Laboratory - $1 million

Senator Shelby said, “Computers and technology have become an integral part of crimes such as child pornography, identity theft, and terrorism. These funds will provide Alabama’s District Attorneys the tools to fully investigate and prosecute these serious crimes.”

Methamphetamine Enforcement and Clean-up - $63,406,000

Senator Shelby said, “Our bill includes $63.4 million for State and local law-enforcement officials to combat methamphetamine production and distribution. This program will also work to target drug hot spots and remove and dispose of hazardous materials at clandestine methamphetamine labs.”

Methamphetamine Enforcement and Prosecution Programs - $4.9 million

$2.9 million - Alabama Association of District Attorneys Methamphetamine Prosecution Program

$1 million - Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs for a methamphetamine program for local police departments

$1 million - Alabama Sheriffs’ Association Methamphetamine Enforcement Project

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased our bill includes $4.9 million for district attorneys, local police departments, and county sheriffs’ methamphetamine enforcement and prosecution programs across the state. As the epidemic of methamphetamine use continues to grow, I believe we must dedicate resources necessary to eliminate this dangerous drug.”

Missing Children Programs - $47,861,000 The following missing children programs will receive funding:

$23,930,000 for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)

$2,991,300 for Jimmy Ryce Law Enforcement Training Center

$14,458,000 to combat internet crimes

$1,496,000 for Missing Children Office within the Department of Justice

$4,986,000 for the AMBER alert program

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased our bill includes this funding, as we must continue to invest resources in these programs to ensure the safety of our nation’s children.”

A Child is Missing, Inc. in Alabama - $200,000

Senator Shelby said, “These funds will help establish a system that will allow local law enforcement to quickly reach thousands by telephone in the event of a missing child, elderly, mentally challenged, or disabled individual.”

National Fatherhood Initiative - $3 million

Senator Shelby said, "This bill provides $3 million for the National Fatherhood Initiative. This project will study the causes and consequences of out-of-wedlock childbirth, including the impact illegitimacy has on criminal activity and welfare dependence. The funds will also be used to develop and promote pro-family practices as a solution to these problems. The Initiative's work will be conducted by a consortium which includes the National Fatherhood Institute and the Alabama Policy Institute."

Grant funds for Interoperability - $10 million

Senator Shelby said, “Interoperability of communication systems for all first responders must be a top priority for the nation. This bill includes $10 million for DOJ to issue grants to assist law enforcement efforts to develop integrated communication systems.”

Alabama Department of Public Safety - Feasibility study of statewide interoperability - $1 million

Senator Shelby said, “These funds will allow state department of public safety the opportunity to determine the feasibility of a statewide interoperable communications system.”

Alabama Department of Public Safety system upgrades - $ 1 million

Senator Shelby said, “These funds will allow for upgrades of the Alabama State Trooper communications systems.”

Alabama Center for Law and Civic Education's Play by the Rules: Alabama Laws for Youth Program - $250,000

Senator Shelby said, “These funds will help in the development of a national crime prevention model for teaching state-specific law to middle school students, teachers, and parents.”

Alabama Pardons and Parole Board CrimeTrax Alabama Project - $600,000

Senator Shelby said, “These funds will be used to closely monitor parolees through a GPS offender tracking system.”

Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center Enterprise Law Enforcement Integration Project - $1.25 million

Senator Shelby said, “These funds will further the advancement and deployment of technology initiatives used to enhance and improve the Alabama Criminal Justice System and help Alabama remain at the forefront of the nation in this technology.”

Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center's ShareTECH program - $1.25 million

Senator Shelby said, “These funds will help to convert the current Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center into a system optimal for sharing information between the law enforcement, criminal justice, homeland security and emergency management communities.”

Alabama Department of Corrections for an electronic systems initiative - $3.4 million

Senator Shelby said, “These funds will allow the Department of Corrections to provide computer based training, as well as, critical data on architectural layout to better combat disruptions in the prison system.”

Alabama Department of Public Safety ABI Case Management System - $1 million

Senator Shelby said, “These funds will allow the Department to develop an automated, fully integrated central repository of investigative information.”

Alabama Bureau of Investigation Shotspotter - $1 million

Senator Shelby said,"The SpotShotter Gunshot Detection and Location System assists police officers by putting them in the right spots, at the right times, to arrest the right people: criminals with guns. The system places sensors around a city and then links them with surveillance cameras. The ShotSpotter system is only triggered by gunfire and the software in the sensors commands the surveillance cameras to rotate and focus on the spot where the shot was fired. It can also trace the path and the direction of drive-by shootings, detect a gunshot from less than 10 meters to over two miles, and decipher the type of weapon used." NOAA Weather Radio Receivers - $50,000 Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased that our bill includes $50,000 which will provide weather radios for 1000 Alabama schools. These radios will provide our schools with up-to-the-minute information about storm warnings and ensure that our schools are prepared in the event of a dangerous weather event.”

Hydrology Study - $1 million

Senator Shelby said, “Our bill includes $1 million for researchers at the University of Alabama, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Auburn University, Alabama A & M University, and Tuskegee University to begin in-depth hydrology research to determine whether large-scale irrigation is a viable option for the Southeast. This study will also provide critical information for both farmers and local government regarding the health of the State’s water resources.”

Inland Waterways Study - $750,000

Senator Shelby said, “These funds will be used to explore how transportation, particularly the use of Alabama's inland waterways, can better enable U.S. manufacturers and producers to compete for new trade opportunities. Greater use of our inland waterways for the transport of freight has the potential to reduce the number of trucks required and therefore alleviate some of the highway congestion motorists currently encounter.”

Alabama Environmental Education Center - $500,000

Senator Shelby said, “The Alabama 4-H Club Foundation provides students throughout Alabama with a learning-by-doing education program in kindergarten through 12th grade. Our bill includes $500,000 for the Alabama 4-H Environmental Education Center in Shelby County to help expand this important learning experience for students.”

Alabama Department of Archives and History - $850,000

Senator Shelby said, “The Alabama Department of Archives and History was the first state department of archives and history in the United States. I am pleased our bill includes $850,000 for the department for continued growth as the preservation of materials is necessary for understanding our history and essential to the future success of Alabama.”

Girl Scouts of America for Project Anti-Violence Education - $1 million

Senator Shelby said, “These funds will be used for a violence prevention initiative designed to assist Girl Scout Councils across the nation in establishing violence prevention and intervention projects.”

National Center for Victims of Crime INFOLINK - $1 million

Senator Shelby said, “This helpline will enable victims of all types of crimes to call and receive information about 8,600 local service providers in every state in the country.”

National Citizen's Crime Prevention Campaign/McGruff - $4.5 million

Senator Shelby said, “Our bill includes $4.5 million for the National Citizen’s Crime Prevention Campaign. This important funding will be used to provide crime prevention training and other assistance to more than 14,000 law enforcement personnel, state crime prevention leaders, and community stakeholders through conferences and on-site, tailored training.”

Constellation University Research Program - $2 million

Senator Shelby said, “Our bill includes $2 million for the Constellation University Research Program, of which UAB, UAH, Tuskegee University and Auburn University are partners. The program provides critical interactions between university researchers and NASA scientist and will allow researchers from academia and the federal government to perform research and development that moves fundamental advances from scientific discovery to basic technology.

Jason Foundation - $4.85 million

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased our bill includes $4.85 million for the Jason Foundation. These funds will be used to help introduce innovative instructional approaches and improve student and teacher learning outcomes in the fields of math and science in classrooms across the country.”

Big Brothers/Big Sisters Quality Growth initiative - $7 million

Senator Shelby said, “Our bill includes $7 million for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Quality Growth initiative. This nationwide program will continue Big Brothers/Big Sisters’ record of commitment to ensure that at-risk children have caring adults in their lives.” Big Brothers/Big Sisters is comprised of over 450 local agencies, eight of which are in Alabama, serving youth between the ages of five and eighteen. They serve over 225,000 children in community, school and site based mentoring programs to provide children with meaningful, mentoring relationships.

Victims of Crime Act Fund

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased our bill maintains the Victims of Crime Act fund as it was in previous fiscal years. This ensures that important women’s shelters, children advocacy centers, and Violence Against Women’s Act related activities are maintained.”

Boys and Girls Club - $85 million

Senator Shelby said, “Our bill includes $85 million for Boys and Girls Clubs of America. The important programs of the Boys and Girls Clubs provide our nation's youth with a safe place to learn and grow in a fun environment.”

FBI’s “Innocent Lost” Initiative - $1.6 million

Senator Shelby said, “These funds will be used for the FBI’s “Innocent Lost” initiative, which addresses the growing problem of domestic child prostitution. The FBI, in coordination with the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, aggressively identify, investigate, and prosecute crimes of this nature.”

Hollings’ Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program - $106 million

Senator Shelby said, “The Hollings’ Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program continues to be a success story by partnering federal, state, public and private entities in order to assist small and mid-sized American manufacturers modernize so that they may compete in the global marketplace.”

Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) - $477 million

Senator Shelby said, “The COPS grant program aims to help law enforcement agencies implement and enhance community policing. COPS funding helps law enforcement agencies across America meet an ever-increasing range of challenges with community policing. Many police departments in Alabama have taken advantage of these grants, and I am pleased we included these funds in our bill.”

State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Grants - $1.1 billion

Senator Shelby said, “The State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance grants is a partnership among federal, state and local governments to create safer communities. I am pleased that over $1 billion has been included in our bill for this important program.”

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention - $342 million

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased our bill provides $342 million for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). OJJDP provides national leadership, coordination, and resources to prevent and respond to juvenile delinquency and victimization. OJJDP supports states and communities in their efforts to develop and implement effective and coordinated prevention and intervention programs and to improve the juvenile justice system so that it protects public safety, holds offenders accountable, and provides treatment and rehabilitative services tailored to the needs of juveniles and their families.”

Economic Development Administration - $283 million

Senator Shelby, “The Economic Development Administration provides grants to local governments and non-profit agencies for public works, planning and other projects designed to facilitate economic development. I am pleased that within these funds includes $13 million for trade adjustment assistance.”

Regional Information Sharing System - $40 million

Senator Shelby said, “The Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) Program is composed of six regional centers that share intelligence and coordinate efforts against criminal networks that operate in many locations across jurisdictional lines. Typical targets of RISS activities are drug trafficking, terrorism, violent crime, cybercrime, gang activity, and organized criminal activities.”

Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) - $112 million

Senator Shelby said, “Our bill includes $100 million in funding for EPSCoR within the National Science Foundation and another $12.2 million within NASA to strengthen research and education throughout Alabama and other states across the country and to broaden the research base of the Nation.”