Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Please do this now -- you'll help crime labs

As many of you know, I'm concerned about the many problems created by the lack of funding for public forensic science in the United States.

I've just received this message from Beth Lavach, lobbyist for the Consortium of Forensic Science Organizations, about pending legislation that would help fund forensic science in the U.S. -- please lend your immediate support! Responding only takes a few minutes, and you can do a great deal of good by helping out.

As a result of the strong support and efforts of Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Richard Shelby (R-AL), the forensics community has an opportunity to expand and improve its technology, training and facilities. Senator Mikulski is the Chair of the Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Senator Shelby is the Ranking Member.

Because both Senators recognize the importance and value of forensic sciences in the advancement of justice for all citizens, they have approved appropriations of $40 million for Coverdell grants and $151 million for DNA testing and backlog in the Senate Appropriations Bill. The proposed Coverdell funds are more than twice as much as has ever been included in the nation's budget. The DNA figure represents an increase as well.

It is even more encouraging to learn that Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), a longtime supporter of forensics has joined with Senators Mikulski and Shelby to include additional funding in the authorization bill and, just as important, make the grant application and management process easier for state and local agencies.

While we in the forensics community have much to be pleased about, the real effort has just begun. It's time now to develop a grassroots effort to insure these welcomed beginning steps are made into law and will be just the first steps in an ongoing program.

Forensics needs your help. Each and every one of you!

Step One - contact these Senators and express your appreciation for their support.

Step Two - we need to get these bills through the House of Representatives before they become part of the final spending package. Contact Rep. Alan, Mollohan (D-WV) the Chairman of the Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. His support and vote are absolutely essential and you can play a major role in making him aware of the need for backing this funding proposal. Time is critical. This legislation is making its way through Congress as we speak. Get on the phone and or e-mail these legislators. Do all three and urge your colleagues to do the same. Do it now. It's up to the members of the community to make this happen. Thank the Senators for the work they have done and ask Congressman Mollohan to fund at the same level or above!

Sen. Barbara Mikulski
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Ph: 202-224-4654
Fax: 202-224-8858

Sen. Richard Shelby
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Ph: 202-224-5744
Fax: 202-224-3416

Sen. Joseph Biden
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Ph: 202-224-5042
Fax: 202-224-0139

The Honorable Alan B. Mollohan
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Ph: 202-225-4172
Fax: 202-225-7564


Elizabeth Foxwell said...

Um, Jan, Sen. Biden is from DE...

Jan Burke said...

Hi Elizabeth --

Yes, someone else made that catch when I sent this notice out to the CLP Morgue -- I should have proofed Beth's message, I guess. I can't blame Beth for her for making this small typo, big as the error may seem otherwise. I think she had just typed the (D-MD) for Mikulski and unintentionally repeated it. There are a couple of other typos, but as you can probably tell, this is a really busy time for her.

Main thing is folks -- make those calls!