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Political Landscape:

Area reps vote for car vouchers

June 13, 2009

All three congressional representatives for the Burbank-Glendale area voted Tuesday to pass a bill that would provide vouchers of up to $4,500 to residents who turn in their gas hogs for significantly more fuel-efficient vehicles.

The Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act now goes to the Senate for consideration after Reps. Adam Schiff, David Dreier and Brad Sherman joined with the two-thirds majority to pass the bill.

Dreier called the legislation “an important step toward strengthening our weakened auto industry,” particularly for fuel-efficient cars.

The provision known as “Cash for Clunkers” includes a two-tiered program in which residents who replace autos that get 18 miles per gallon or less for cars with an improved fuel efficiency of at least four miles per gallon would get a voucher for $3,500.

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Car purchases that improve fuel efficiency by at least 10 miles per gallon would get vouchers worth $4,500.

The vouchers would be available to offset the purchase or lease price for any qualifying passenger automobile or truck, but limited to one per customer, including joint registered owners of a single trade-in vehicle.

Funding to cover DNA lab, backlog processing

The House of Representatives Appropriations Committee on Tuesday approved more than $3 million in funding for area law enforcement programs, clearing the way for a floor vote on the legislation.

The bill includes $500,000 for DNA equipment to be installed at a regional crime lab to be located in Glendale, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, a member of the committee, said in a statement.

The lab will use the equipment to examine evidence from cases in Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena. Those cities currently send their DNA evidence to a Los Angeles County crime lab, which can take up to nine months to analyze the materials.

“DNA matching technology is one of the greatest advancements in forensic science since the fingerprint,” Schiff said.

“This funding will go directly toward tracking down murderers and rapists and ensuring they are taken off the street before they can strike again.”

The bill also includes $1 million to help the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department process its backlog of more than 4,700 unexamined rape evidence kits.

Another $500,000 will be allocated for a law enforcement communication system operated by the cities of Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena, if the legislation is passed.

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