Baucus, Tester announce more than $5 million for Montana projects

Senators Say Funds Will Help Law Enforcement Officials Keep Montanans Safe, Do Jobs Effectively

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The U.S. Senate has set aside $5.192 million in the fiscal year 2009 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill, Montana Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester announced today.

The senators said that the measure passed the full Appropriations Committee Thursday. The bill will now go before the full Senate for consideration.

"Our law enforcement officials work hard every day to protect Montanans and keep our kids safe," Baucus said. "Jon and I worked together to secure funding that will provide law enforcement officials the resources they need to do their jobs effective and efficiently and to help stamp out drug use in our state."

"This is funding that will protect Montana families and keep our communities safe, and it just cleared another hurdle," Tester said.  "Max and I work hard to make sure colleagues know how valuable these investments are, and we'll continue to work hard to see these projects through."

The fiscal year 2009 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill included the following Montana projects:

  • MontanaMeth Project ($1,000,000): The funds will be used for the Montana Meth Project's ongoing research-based campaign. Also to help with presentations to community groups and schools.
  • MissoulaPublic Safety Operations & Training Center ($750,000): Funds will be used to help construct a new building for Missoula County's Office of Emergency Services and the EOC (Emergency Operations Center); Missoula County's  9-1-1 Dispatch Center; a new regional, multidisciplinary training center for law enforcement, fire services, emergency medical services and public health, and the Missoula County Sheriff's Department.
  • Northwest Montana Regional Public Safety Training / Testing Center in Kalispell ($750,000): Will be used to build a new center to train and test law enforcement personnel located in Northwest Montana. Over 1,000 local law enforcement and fire personnel will utilize the proposed Center including such agencies as Border Patrol, Homeland Security, Montana Highway Patrol, National Guard and agencies in the Northwestern United States.
  • Gallatin County Emergency Communications CenterEquipment Upgrade ($500,000): Will be used to help build a new Emergency Communications facility, which will enable the county to maintain and deliver the best in emergency communications. 
  • MontanaYouth Empowerment Project – University of Montana ($400,000):  To help develop a program that will help children who are vulnerable to suicide, high-risk behavior and violence.  The program will consist of a coordinated, culturally sensitive, and age-appropriate school-based behavioral health model to help reverse the risks facing Montana's young people.
  • MissoulaPolice Headquarters ($300,000):  To improve handling of criminal investigations, easily housing a new task force effort for Internet Crimes Against Children and other cyber-crime investigations where computer forensic services could be provided in a state-of-the-art facility.
  • Ft.Belknap Tribal Courts ($300,000): Ft. Belknap's Tribal court system is overwhelmed, facing both staffing and technology shortfalls. The funding will be used to hire new staff and make the court run more effectively and efficiently.
  • City of Billings   Police Department Equipment ($269,000):  The funding will be used to equip all 70 patrol vehicles with digital in-car video equipment, which will allow for the memorializing of an officer's entire shift. The money will also be used for tactical blankets and an armored vehicle.
  • Chippewa Cree Juvenile Detention CenterRenovation Project ($250,000): To help rebuild and renovate the juvenile detention center on the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation.
  • MONTS-Montana Offender Notification and Tracking System ($200,000): This project will addresses rural needs for the study and integration of offender monitoring, tracking and related notification solutions to enhance public safety, inter-jurisdictional communication and effective management of law enforcement assets. 
  • Academic and Workforce Development Program at the Montana Women's Prison – MSU-Billings ($200,000):  To continue development and implement an academic development program targeted at inmates at the Montana Women's Prison in Billings. It is designed to enhance the academic and job-skills success of an at-risk group, providing "boot camp academic preparation" for the women's prison population.
  • FortPeck Reservation 911 Call Center Operations ($100,000): The funds will be used for operating the Fort Peck Reservation 911 Call Center.
  • Montana State University ($200,000): To participate in Expedition Northwest a distance learning program that will improve science and technology literacy in the northwest by funding a partnership between the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry  and MSU to capitalize on regional collaboration with higher education, public libraries, and distance learning networks to bring high quality science education to learners of all ages throughout Montana.

The appropriations bill also includes $580 million for Justice Assistants Grants (JAG), used to battle drug use across the country. In Montana, drug task forces rely on grant funding to help strengthen local, state and federal partnerships in the fight against illegal drug traffickers.

Last year, JAG funding for fiscal year 2008, which starts July 1, was cut drastically. Baucus and Tester are working together to restore the funding so programs that rely on JAG will not have to cut back or shut down entirely. Baucus and Tester worked hard to restore and boost fiscal year 2009 funding.

In addition to the $1 million headed to the Montana Meth Project, the appropriations bill includes another $10 million for research based anti-drug campaigns. In the coming months, those dollars will be awarded to the Montana Meth Project and other similar programs.

Today's decision to fund the project now goes to the full Senate Appropriations Committee for approval.