Falk to Lobby Wisconsin Members of Congress in Washington, DC
June 16, 2005
Madison – Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk announced today she will be in Washington, DC June 16 to urge members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation to push to restore funding for county programs, including money for crime prevention and community development block grants.
“The President’s budget does serious harm to many public safety programs that our citizens count on,” said Falk. “Now is when the Senate and House are meeting to decide what to do. It is imperative that Congress restore funding to these vital programs.”
While in Washington, Falk will be attending a board meeting of the County Executives of America Board of Directors of which she is member, and that group will be paying for the cost of the trip for Falk.
Earlier this year, Falk sent a letter to the Wisconsin congressional delegation detailing the impact of the proposed federal budget on critical county programs. In particular, about a half a million in funding for vital crime prevention programs was cut to Dane County , and the President proposed eliminating the Community Development Block Grant program, which the county invests $1.2 million a year in communities for a variety of housing, public service and job creation needs.
Specifically, Falk will be urging Congress to restore the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program. About $500,000 a year of Byrne money was provided in 2005 to the Sheriff’s Department for the important work of the Narcotics and Gang Task Force and to the District Attorney’s Office for an Assistant DA and victim witness services.
President Bush’s budget also cuts Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds, which are funds collected from federal criminal fines and is used to assist and compensate victims of crime. Dane County currently uses $197,000 to provide trauma services to victims, witnesses and families, a child abuse/sexual assault specialist, ADA victim/witness specialist, Human Service staff, and crime victim compensation for funeral expenses and counseling.
Falk will also push for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which expires in September, 2005. This ten-year-old law funds ($145,000) critical county programs that further the safety and stability of the lives of survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Community organizations such as the Rape Crisis Center ($78,000), the Domestic Abuse Intervention Services ($68,000), and Safe Harbor, which provides services for children of sexual assault ($96,000), also receive VOWA money at stake.
# # #
Lesley Sillaman, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606