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FYI THIS MONTH: JANUARY 2004

HIGHLIGHTS OF DEVELOPMENTS IN WASHINGTON IMPACTING THE PHYSICS COMMUNITY FROM FYI, THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS BULLETIN OF SCIENCE POLICY NEWS Audrey T. Leath, Richard M. Jones
fyithismonth@aip.org AIP Science Policy Products and Services: Remember that, in addition to FYI and FYI THIS MONTH, AIP's Media and Government Relations Division offers a number of other products, programs and services to help the physics community stay in touch with their Members of Congress and the latest developments in science policy.

2003 Bills Remaining: In late January, the Senate finally passed the remaining FY 2004 appropriations in a single large omnibus bill. However, the prognosis for another bill left over from the first session of the 108th Congress, the energy policy bill (H.R. 6), is uncertain. After passing the House, this bill stalled in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) plans to bring it back to the floor early in 2004.

K-12 Classroom Science: The year 2003 saw AIP, with many of its Member Societies, take a more active role in trying to keep religious theories out of the K-12 science classroom and peer-reviewed science in. The societies monitored developments in a number of states, and weighed in with support for peer-reviewed science in New Mexico classroom science standards and Texas biology textbooks.

NSF Large Facility Projects: "Although NSF has improved its process for setting priorities among large-facility projects," a National Research Council panel concluded, "further strengthening is needed, if NSF is to meet the demands that will be made of it in the future." The panel put forth a series of recommendations to improve the project prioritization process, including development of a three-tiered system of criteria and a 10-20 year facilities roadmap.

Analysis of FY04 Appropriations: How did programs fare in the FY 2004 appropriations process compared to FY 2003? With appropriations bills for the current fiscal year finally completed, results varied widely for the S&T agencies and programs tracked by FYI. Changes from FY 2003 funding levels ranged from an increase of 58.4 percent for Research, Development, Acquisition and Operations within the Department of Homeland Security, to a cut of 62.8 percent for NIST's Manufacturing Extension Partnership program.

To the Moon and Mars: After achieving extended human missions to the Moon by 2015, "we will then be ready to take the next steps of space exploration: human missions to Mars and beyond," declared President Bush in January. His remarks were followed by NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe, who described aspects of the proposal in greater detail.

Human Spaceflight Goals: Last fall, before President Bush announced his proposal to send humans to the Moon and Mars, a group of space policy experts gathered at a workshop to share views on national space policy, current problems with NASA's human spaceflight program, and future exploration goals.