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Bill would reauthorize Secure Rural Schools program


The Register-Herald

BECKLEY, W.Va., — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., introduced legislation Friday reauthorizing the Secure Rural Schools and Self-Determination Program (SRS).

The SRS program provides funds that support public schools, public roads, forest health projects, emergency services and many other essential county services for 43 of West Virginia’s 55 counties.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

Congress passed the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act in 2000 after counties containing tax-exempt federally owned public lands experienced a severe decline in timber sales, dramatically reducing payments to counties.

The SRS program expired at the end of fiscal year 2015, and county payments returned to a revenue-based system for fiscal year 2016.

“As we work to come up with a long-term solution for rural community needs, this legislation will provide funding for 43 counties in West Virginia,” Manchin said. “Reauthorizing this program is a necessity for many rural communities in West Virginia that will keep schools open, make essential road repairs and keep law enforcement protecting our families.”

Manchin joined Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.; Martin Heinrich, D-N.M.; Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Jon Tester, D-Mont.; Michael Bennet, D-Colo.; Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; Mike Crapo, R-Idaho; Steve Daines, R-Mont.; Cory Gardner, R-Colo.; James Risch, R-Idaho; and Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, in introducing this legislation.

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