U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) yesterday voted for H.R. 3093, the fiscal year 2008 Departments of Commerce and Justice, and Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.  The bill includes provisions that restore needed funds for violent crime prevention and community development.  The legislation also addresses the abuse of national security letters by the FBI.

“This bill restores important funds for local law enforcement to address the growing violent crime epidemic and to relieve the increasing pressure being put on our local law enforcement agencies.  We also fund key initiatives to help small businesses compete in the global marketplace,” Smith said.

“I am especially pleased to have been able to obtain $950,000 for the Washington State Meth Initiative to help fight methamphetamine use in our state,” Smith added.

H.R. 3093 provides $3.2 billion for State and Local Law Enforcement and Crime Prevention Grants, 53 percent more than the President requested.  These programs were cut by $1.9 billion from 2001 to 2006.  In 2006, the FBI reported that violent crime increased in 2005 and 2006.  These funds include restored investment in programs to support local law enforcement, hire new police officers, and strengthen services to victims of domestic violence.

The bill also includes $831.2 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology Research to promote U.S. innovation and competitiveness.  These funds will support technology development, help smaller U.S. manufacturers compete in international markets, and help pay for the construction of research facilities.

H.R. 3093 also included language prohibiting the use of national security letters in contravention of the law.  A recent report by the FBI’s Inspector General identified FBI abuses of its authority to review customer records of suspected foreign agents.  The letters were inappropriately used to avoid regular procedures for obtaining access to these records.

Smith announced that the following projects that will benefit the Ninth District of Washington also received funds:

  • $1.1 million for an upgraded shared Automated Finger Imaging System (AFIS) for Pierce County, WA Sheriff’s Office and the City of Tacoma.
  • $950,000 for the Washington State Meth Initiative
  • $250,000 for the Nisqually Tribe of Washington’s Youth Justice Center
  • $250,000 for the Rainier Communications Commission for the acquisition of wireless routers to enable the pilot testing of a regional backup communications network for public safety and emergency response purposes, facilitating more effective emergency communications across Pierce County.