15 March 2007


Representatives Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) are circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter that is intended to demonstrate to House Appropriators how important the Sexual Assault Service Program (SASP) is and to request full funding for the program in Fiscal Year 2008. Dear Colleague letters are generally initiated by two Members of Congress (usually a democrat and a republican). These letters are sent to each Congressperson to ask for their signature to show support for funding a particular program or to gather support for pending legislation.

We need your help to get as many members of Congress as possible to sign on to this letter to show that SASP is an important program to all communities across the country. The deadline is this Friday, March 16. In 2006, 110 representatives signed a Dear Colleague in support of SASP funding for Fiscal Year 2007. It's crucial that we show the same level of support for SASP in 2008.

Background: The Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) was authorized by the Violence Against Women Act of 2005. SASP is the first federal program to provide a direct and dedicated funding stream for services to victims by rape crisis centers and other sexual assault organizations. SASP funding is also directed to Native American tribes as well as culturally-specific organizations to better reach and serve victims in communities that have been historically underserved. In addition, SASP makes resources available to state, territory, and tribal sexual assault coalitions who work to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of local programs. For more information on SASP, visit the National Center for Victims of Crime website.

Please call your representative today to ask him or her to sign onto the Baldwin/McCotter Dear Colleague letter in support of SASP. Congressional staffers who have questions or want to sign on can contact Elizabeth Pika in Rep. Baldwin's office at 202) 225-2906. If you don't know how to reach your representative go to www.house.gov or call the Capitol switchboard at 202.224.3121, and they will connect you.

If you have any questions, please contact Ilse Knecht, Deputy Director, Public Policy at 703-732-2446 or iknecht@ncvc.org.

Current signatures include:
1. Tammy Baldwin
2. Thaddeus McCotter
3. Dennis Moore
4. Rick Boucher
5. Neil Abercrombie
6. Jim Costa
7. Carolyn McCarthy
8. Todd Russell Platts
9. Luis G. Fortuno
10. Elijah Cummings
11. Howard Berman
12. Mike Michaud
13. Dianna DeGette
14. George Miller
15. Jim Langevin
16. Michael E. Capuano
17. Stephanie Herseth

[Note: We are still uncertain about the Fiscal Year 2007 funding levels for SASP. Because Congress passed a continuing resolution for the whole of 2007 for all agencies and did not direct how federal agencies are to spend those dollars, federal agencies are still sorting out how they will spend those funds].

{All above text excerpted from an email message forwarded by the staff of Houston County Women's Resources.}

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