Sending Office: Honorable Carolyn B. Maloney
Sent By:

FY19 Signers: Carolyn Maloney*, Reichert*, Schiff, Cicilline, Carson, Fitzpatrick, Nadler, King (NY), Swalwell, Cohen, Jackson Lee, Yarmuth, Walters, Vargas, Clarke, Comstock, Krishnamoorthi, Loebsack, Payne, Rice, DeSaulnier,
Boyle, Cummings, Smith (NJ), Higgins, Lofgren, Delaney, Raskin, Dingell, Moore, Scott (VA), Chu

FY18 Signers: Carolyn Maloney*, Reichert*, Cárdenas, Vargas, Hastings, Boyle, Schiff, Smith (WA), Nadler, Payne, Yarmuth, Swalwell, Clarke, Jayapal, Dingell, Higgins, Speier, Costa, Rice, Cummings, Moore, Collins
(NY), Rodney Davis, Jackson Lee, Carson, Meeks, Soto, Evans, Keating, Gottheimer, Delaney, Fudge, Cicilline, Peters, Raskin, Slaughter, DeSaulnier, Grijalva, Cohen, Smith (NJ), Loebsack, Chu, Fitzpatrick, Kuster, Tipton, King (NY)

Dear Colleague,

The Justice For All Act (P.L. 108-405) expanded the use of DNA technology to convict the guilty and free the innocent. Included in this law was the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program, named for a courageous rape survivor whose assailant was identified
through DNA evidence. This program helps to reduce and eliminate the backlog of unprocessed DNA evidence in state and local labs across the nation. In 2014, Congress again showed its overwhelming bipartisan support for this initiative by passing the Debbie
Smith Reauthorization Act (P.L. 113-182), which extends this program through 2019. And this year, the SAFER Act was reauthorized, which amends the Debbie Smith Act to provide local law enforcement with resources to audit and report back on their backlogs.

We invite you to join us in sending the letter below to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee expressing support for sufficient funding for the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program in its FY2019 bill.  If you
would like to sign the letter, please have your staff contact Christina Parisi with Rep. Maloney (x5-7944 or or Isaac Tobis with Rep. Reichert (x5-7761 or
by COB Tuesday, March 13.


CAROLYN B. MALONEY             DAVID G. REICHERT               

Member of Congress                        Member of Congress       


Dear Chairman Culberson and Ranking Member Serrano:

We write to thank you for your work in providing resources for programs critical to public safety and express our strong support for one of these programs, the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program, which helps law enforcement and forensic labs keep up
with the increasing demand for DNA analysis. We request that you allocate sufficient funding for this vital program in FY 2019 in addition to including language to ensure that the DNA funding may be used solely for purposes specific to DNA backlog reduction
and capacity enhancement. 

Since the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program was first authorized in 2004, it has provided states with desperately needed help and resources to carry out DNA analyses of backlogged evidence, particularly rape kits. In 2014, Congress again showed its
overwhelming bipartisan support for this initiative by passing the Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act (P.L. 113-182), which extends this program through 2019. Since 2005, the National Institute of Justice reports that more than 165,000 matches to criminal cases
on the national DNA database are attributable to this federal DNA grant.  But much work still remains to be done. 

Crime laboratories have made tremendous progress towards increasing the amount of DNA cases that can be processed. Unfortunately, forensic DNA is a victim of its own success – as more cases are solved using DNA, law enforcement has asked for even more DNA
testing in more cases. Any decrease in this vital funding for forensic DNA analysis will lead to considerable strain on crime labs as backlogs will grow to unprecedented levels, with impacts throughout the criminal justice system. Eliminating these backlogs
helps to solve crimes, preventing criminals from walking the streets and reoffending.

Your subcommittee has long recognized the importance of the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant, and the funding you have appropriated has aided thousands of cases and had a tremendously positive effect on public safety. We appreciate the work that you have done
to provide resources for this critical program. For FY 2019, we strongly urge you to continue to provide sufficient funding for this program and to include language to ensure that this funding is used for the stated purpose of DNA backlog reduction.

We appreciate your commitment to solving and preventing violent crime and protecting victims of crime, and we thank you for your continued support of funding to maximize the use of DNA to solve crime.


Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, Judiciary

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