Senate Committee Hearing Thursday on the Public Lands Service Corps

This coming Thursday the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will look at a bill to strengthen national service activity on public lands.

The Public Lands Service Corps Act, s. 1442, would amend the Public Lands Corps Act of 1993 and would:

  • provide service-learning opportunities on public lands
  • establish a grant program for Indian Youth Service Corps
  • help restore the Nation’s natural, cultural, historic, archaeological, recreational, and scenic resources
  • train a new generation of public land managers and enthusiasts, and promote the value of public service

The bill was introduced in July by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), who is also the chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) cosponsored the bill.

According to its blog, The Corps Network is providing information to help land management officials prepare their testimony for Thursday’s hearing.

These Senators are on the Energy and Natural Resource Committee and will be considering the legislation:

Senate Energy + Natural Resources Committee Members

Senate Energy + Natural Resources Committee Members

In March, Congressional Representatives introduced similar legislation (H.R. 1612) in the House. That legislation passed out of committee in June, and has the past week been added to the Union Calendar in the House (Calendar no. 177).

Learn more about Public Lands on the Public Lands Day site.

Senate Appropriations Committee Backs Funding for the Kennedy Serve America Act

Yesterday the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $1.157B to fund the Corporation for National and Community Service implementation of the Kennedy Serve America Act.

The figure is greater than the $1.149B requested by President Obama, the $1.059B that the House of Representatives passed in its appropriations bill, and the 2009 fiscal year budget of the Corporation.

The Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Senators Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) and Thad Cochran (R-MS), issued a statement:

The bill includes $1.157 billion for the Corporation for National and Community Service. This level is $267 million above the fiscal year 2009 enacted level. The Committee recommendation puts AmeriCorps on the path to 250,000 members, the goal approved by Congress earlier this year in the SERVE America Act. The Continue reading

NY Times Editorial Voices Strong Support for AmeriCorps

The NY Times logoSaturday, a New York Times editorial argued strongly for full funding of the Kennedy Serve America Act — the appropriation for which will be considered this week in the Senate.

Last week, the House of Representatives appropriated $90M less to implement the Kennedy Serve America Act than Pres. Obama requested in his proposed budget. In response, The New York Times printed an editorial urging Congress to fund the Act which was passed into law in April and could greatly expand the AmeriCorps family of programs and the number Continue reading

Applications to AmeriCorps Increase, but a House Committee Doesn’t Come Through with Funding

While AmeriCorps applications are seeing a steep rise, the Corporation for National and Community Service is climbing an uphill battle for funding.

According to an unpublished Corporation report, discussed by Tim Zimmerman on today’s Change/Wire, the blog of the Service Nation campaign:

•    In June 2009, [the Corporation for National and Community Service] received 34,373 online AmeriCorps applications, nearly triple the 11,814 online applications received in June of 2008. Continue reading

Yellow Ribbon Program Makes School More Affordable for Vets

Military service member saluting the U.S. flagThe Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 created a new way to help members of the military pay for school.

Currently the the Post-9/11 GI Bill pays up to the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition and fees. However, if you’re heading to a private college, going to grad school, and/or are not qualified to pay in-state tuition, your expenses may exceed the GI Bill benefit. The Yellow Ribbon Program — taking effect at participating schools on August 1st, 2009 — attempts to close the gap between GI Bill education benefits, and the true cost of many educational opportunities.

As part of the Yellow Ribbon Program, schools can volunteer to contribute up to 50 percent of that gap between their own costs and the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition and fees. The government then matches the school’s Continue reading