June 12, 2018

Manchin Secures Passage of Skylar's Law, Full Funding for the Green Bank Observatory and End to BOP Overreliance on Augmentation

Senator Manchin also secured funding for opioids, rural communities and economic development

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) secured funding for top West Virginia priorities including opioids, rural communities and economic development. The FY19 Commerce, Justice, Science & Related Agencies appropriations bill, which will be voted on in the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science & Related Agencies today, also includes provisions to preserve current and future operations at the Green Bank Observatory, end the Bureau of Prisons’ overreliance on augmentation and implement Senator Manchin’s bill, Skylar’s Law, that would establish a network that would immediately notify the public when an abduction has taken place.

“The funding we included in this spending bill will help West Virginia fight the opioid epidemic, ensure that rural communities in West Virginia get their fair share of funding and grow economic development in West Virginia,” Senator Manchin said. “Not only that, but I made sure this legislation included Skylar’s Law, full funding for the Green Bank Observatory and a provision to end the Bureau of Prison’s overreliance on augmentation practices that put our correctional officers and inmates at risk and contributed to the death of an inmate in West Virginia last year. These are all huge wins for West Virginia and I am proud to have worked with my colleagues to get them in the bill. My top priorities will be making sure they stay in the final spending bill.”

Here is a full list of West Virginia priorities Senator Manchin secured in the spending bill:

  • Skylar’s Law: Directs the Secretary to establish a National Endangered Missing Advisory network that would enable immediate public notification regardless of evidence of abduction. Senator Manchin introduced Skylar’s law in December following the death of Skylar Neese, who was murdered by two friends. No AMBER Alert was sent out for her disappearance because it did not meet the strict criteria for an AMBER Alert.

  • Green Bank: Report language ensuring full funding and continued NASA and NSF support for operations at the Green Bank Observatory. Senator Manchin has been working with the Observatory, NASA and the National Science Foundation to ensure its continued operation. Read his latest efforts here.

  • Bureau of Prisons: Directs the Bureau of Prisons to curtail its overreliance on augmentation which allows BOP to move any employees – secretaries, teachers, case managers, etc. – to the front lines enforcing security at federal correctional facilities, regardless of the department the staff member usually works in. In March, Senator Manchin sent a letter to former Bureau of Prisons director Marc Inch urging him to end overreliance on augmentation. He also sent a letter in April highlighting the $106 million in additional funding he helped secure in the FY18 omnibus bill to hire more full-time correctional officers.

  • Rural Broadband: First-time authorization allowing EDA to use funds in support of broadband infrastructure as well as strong report language directing the Commerce Department to ensure broadband access and improve mapping in rural areas through the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA).

  • Opioids: Within DOJ, significant funding aimed at combatting the opioid and heroin epidemic, including $360 million for the Opioid Initiative, $80 million for drug courts ($5 million more than FY18), and $90 million for Second Chance Act Programs (+$5 million), as well as significant funding targeting fentanyl detection.

  • Rural Funding: Report language throughout the bill and Committee report highlighting the needs of rural and underserved, and requiring agencies to ensure the equitable geographic distribution of funds and an appropriate balance of rural and urban needs

  • Restored Funding: Not only restored but increased funding for a number of programs and agencies important to West Virginia that were proposed for elimination by the administration, including Economic Development Administration, Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, NASA RESTORE-L satellite servicing program, and the Legal Services Corporation, among others.

  • EDA: $305.5 million for the Economic Development Administration ($4 million more than FY18), which provides critical grant funding to help foster innovation and rebuild our nation’s small, rural communities. This also includes $25 million for EDA’s Regional Innovation Program, with a 40% set aside for rural communities.

  • Census: Increased support and funding for the 2020 Decennial Census.