H.R. 6062: Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2012

H.R. 6062

Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2012

Sponsor
Rep. Tom Marino

Date
July 31, 2012 (112th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Sarah Makin

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, July 31, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 6062, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2012, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote for approval.  H.R. 6062 was introduced by Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) on June 29, 2012, and was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, which held a mark-up and reported the bill on July 18, 2012, by a voice vote. 

Bill Summary

H.R. 6062 would authorize the appropriations of $800 million for each of the fiscal years 2013 through 2017 for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program. 

Background

According to the Committee on the Judiciary, “the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) program was created by the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-162), which collapsed two existing programs – the Edward Byrne Memorial Formula Grant and the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant – into a single criminal justice grant program to the states and local governments.  Byrne JAG has seven broad program purposes: law enforcement programs; prosecution and court programs; prevention and education programs; corrections and community corrections programs; drug treatment and enforcement programs; planning, evaluation, and technology improvement programs; and crime victim and witness programs (other than compensation).  These program areas are broadly written with the intent of providing the states and localities a large amount of flexibility to determine how their grant money is spent.

“The Byrne JAG program is administered by the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs, and provides federal grant funds to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, America Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.  Byrne JAG provides funding to states through a formula based on each state’s population and crime rate.  Each state is statutorily authorized to receive a minimum amount of funding, set at 0.25 percent of the total annual funding.  Forty percent of a state’s allocation is directly awarded to units of local government.  These funds are distributed based on the localities’ relative portion of their state’s violent crime, as reported to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report.

“The balance of funds not awarded directly to units of local government (i.e., 60 percent) is administered by the state, and must be distributed to state police departments that provide criminal justice services to units of local government.  Each state is also required to “pass through” a certain percentage of the funds directly awarded to the state.  The pass-through percentage, often referred to as the “variable pass through,” is calculated as the ratio of the total amount of expenditures on criminal justice by the state itself for the most recent fiscal year to the total amount of expenditures on criminal justice by both the state and all units of local government in the past fiscal year.

“Byrne JAG is authorized through the end of fiscal year 2012 at $1.095 billion a year.  The program was appropriated at approximately $430 million for fiscal year 2011 and approximately $470 million for fiscal year 2012, although $100 million of the 2012 funds were a one-time set aside for expenses related to the presidential nomination conventions.”

Cost

Assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing H.R. 6062 would cost about $2.7 billion over the 2013-2017 period and $1.3 billion in subsequent years. Pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply to this legislation because it would not affect direct spending or revenues.