Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Calls On Congress To Restore Byrne Grant Funding
Attorney General Jack Conway joined 55 other Attorneys General from all jurisdictions of the United States today in requesting that Congressional leaders restore funding to the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program. The Byrne-JAG Grants provide essential funding for the operation of state crime and drug-enforcement efforts.
“Byrne funds are critical in our fight against drugs and violent crimes,” General Conway said. “If the severe cuts to Byrne funding are not restored, many of the multi-jurisdictional task forces across our Commonwealth will cease to exist, destroying years of cooperation and progress in crime and drug enforcement.”
Byrne-JAG is currently the only source of funding available to local and state law enforcement for multijurisdictional drug enforcement, including methamphetamine initiatives, and is a critical source of funding for drug courts, law-enforcement collaboration, gang prevention, and prisoner reentry programs.
In FY 2007, the Byrne-JAG program was funded at $520 million. For FY 2008, the Senate had originally funded the Byrne-JAG program at $660 million and the House at $600 million in their respective appropriations bills. However, in the omnibus FY 2008 appropriations bill signed into law in December of 2007, the Byrne-JAG program funding was cut to $170 million for the coming year – a 67 percent decrease from 2007 funding levels.
Attorneys General assert in their letter to Congressional leaders that these cuts would devastate state law- enforcement efforts by shutting down multi-jurisdictional drug and gang task forces, requiring layoffs of police and prosecutors, and cutting funding for programs that have been proven to assist drug-addicted citizens in becoming productive members of society.
The effort to restore funding has been spearheaded by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, Maine Attorney General Steve Rowe, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, and Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann.