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Election Reform Funding

The fiscal 2003 omnibus appropriations bill approved last week contained $1.5 billion in election reform funding. [IMGCAP(1)]

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), a lead sponsor of the Help America Vote bill that passed last year, praised the move, which will provide states with much-needed money to replace outmoded election equipment and comply with new federal requirements.

The $1.5 billion in funding provides $325 million to replace lever and punch- card machines, $325 million for states to immediately improve election systems, and $830 million for states to comply with minimum standards. It also will provide $1.5 million each for high school and college programs to encourage young people to become involved in elections, $2 million to establish and run the Election Assistance Commission, and $15 million for a variety of programs to facilitate voting for the disabled.

Thune’s Next Move. In addition to starting his own consulting firm in Sioux Falls, S.D., former Rep. John Thune (R-S.D.) has joined Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn as senior government affairs counselor in Washington.

His formation of the South Dakota firm, The Thune Group, has fueled speculation that he will make another run at the Senate.

Rayburn Garage. Due to the installation of perimeter security improvements adjacent to the House office buildings, traffic entering the Rayburn garage will be redirected beginning today through April 6. Vehicles entering at the G-2 level on First Street Southwest will need to enter via Independence Avenue. The intersection at First Street and Washington Avenue Southwest will be closed.

— Amy Keller, Douglas Fruehling and Suzanne Nelson

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