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The Supreme Court is seeking $56.9 million for fiscal 2004, a 15 percent increase over its current budget. [IMGCAP(1)]

Most of the new funds would be used to pay for technological upgrades and security-related measures. The court is seeking $675,000 to finance the addition of 13 police officers to its law-enforcement division and $136,000 to pay for police equipment and training.

“Security professionals tell us that a visible security presence is an effective deterrent to terrorist and other unlawful acts,” Justice Anthony Kennedy testified Wednesday at a hearing of the House Appropriations subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State and the judiciary.

The court is also seeking funds in the supplemental spending bill, some of which would be used to maintain pay parity between the court’s officers and the Capitol Police.

Organic Caucus.Seeing a need for a working group on one of the fastest-growing sectors in agriculture, Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.), along with fellow co-chairmen Reps. Jim Walsh (R-N.Y.), Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.), Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Amo Houghton (R-N.Y.), has formed the Congressional Organic Caucus.

“With new organic standards now in effect, consumers are demanding greater availability and farmers are seeking solutions to their organic production problems,” Farr said.

The caucus will hold it first meeting at 3 p.m. today in room 2362A of the Rayburn House Office Building.

A Call to Arms. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) recently appointed J. Keith Kennedy as Deputy Sergeant-At-Arms to the world’s most exclusive club.

Kennedy, a former senior public policy adviser and co-chairman of Baker, Donelson, Bearman & Caldwell’s Public Policy Group, earlier spent 24 years in the Senate. He is a one-time staff director for the Senate Appropriations Committee.

— Jennifer Yachnin, Suzanne Nelson and Bree Hocking

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