October 17, 2007

CARDIN, MIKULSKI ANNOUNCE $14 MILLION FOR MARYLAND INITIATIVES IN CJS SPENDING BILL

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski and Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (both D-Md.) announced the Senate has passed the fiscal year 2008 CJS spending bill, which includes $14 million for their priorities that work toward a safer, smarter Maryland and America.

"This bill is critical for Maryland. It provides significant support for law enforcement and crime prevention efforts," said Senator Cardin. "Our first responders are responsible for our safety in a crisis and this bill will help ensure that they have the resources to effectively and efficiently carry out their duties."

The spending bill includes:

-- $750,000 for the State of Maryland's First Responder Interoperability Project to improve operability and communication among all state law enforcement agencies, as well as local jurisdictions.

-- $500,000 for the Baltimore City Felony Diversion Initiative, which provides training, job placement and support for ex-offenders.

-- $250,000 for the Eastern Shore Dropout Prevention Program in Centreville, for the expansion of a program to utilize a web-based curriculum and delivery system to keep students on track to graduate.

"If Maryland is going to be more competitive, we must focus on programs that are developing new technologies that lead to new products and industries that create new jobs that will never leave the United States," said Senator Mikulski. "I will continue to fight to make Maryland innovators a priority in the federal checkbook, particularly those working to find new ways to conserve and protect the Bay and the communities who rely on it."

"This measure provides for significant scientific initiatives that will keep Maryland at the forefront of innovative Space and Oceanic research and technologies," said Senator Cardin. "It also supports a number of important initiatives that will further the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay."

The spending bill includes:

-- $6 million to continue the NOAA Air Resources Laboratory's Urbanet Partnership, which is expanding the number of metropolitan areas covered by the Urbanet system to improve weather forecasting and provide better warnings during severe storms.

-- $4 million for the Chesapeake Information Based Aeronautics Consortium, an aeronautics consortium made up of Morgan State University, Bowie State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. The consortium works on NASA's aviation safety and security program by helping the agency develop synthetic vision systems to improve safety for commercial airliners.

-- $2 million for the Oyster Recovery Partnership to replenish native oysters in the Maryland waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Funds will be limited to on-the-ground and in-the-water restoration projects.

-- $500,000 for the John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Water Trail to deploy a marker system along the trail to help educate visitors about Smith's voyages of exploration in the Chesapeake Bay.

Chairwoman Mikulski instituted criteria for all congressionally designated projects in this year's spending bill, requiring that they specifically focus on the mission and mandate of the organization. The CJS bill substantially reduces earmarks, and all projects in the bill comply with the requirements of the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act (S. 1), as passed by the Senate.

In the next step of the legislative process, the House and Senate will meet in Conference Committee to work out the differences between the two versions of the bill. The Conference report will then be voted on by both Houses of Congress. Once passed by the House and Senate, the spending bill will go to the President for his signature.