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Published on Friday, April 12, 2013

Comparison of public safety funding in the Senate and House operating budgets

Both the Senate and the House have released operating budgets that address public safety issues as follows:

  • Law enforcement training: Both budgets require local law enforcement agencies to continue to directly pay 25% of the cost to send officers to basic training, as well as pay for ammunition.
  • Auto Theft Prevention Authority: Both budgets fund it at $8.6 million. This is up from $5.9 million last year.
  • Public defense funding: Both maintain existing funding levels for public defense, including $600,000 that the Office of Public Defense distributes annually to fund our local courts. However, neither included any increased funding that we requested due to the recently adopted public defender caseload limits.
  • Impaired Driver Safety Account: Both continue to fund the account at $1.6 million. Portions of this funding go to our local law enforcement to help enforce impaired driving legislation.
  • Sex Offender Address Registration Program: Both fund WASPC at $5 million to continue to oversee the sex offender address registration program.
  • Reviewing marijuana – medical and recreational: Both budgets include language requiring the Department of Health, Department of Revenue, and Liquor Control Board to study and make recommendations on the interaction of medical marijuana regulations and recreational use allowed under the passage of I-502.

The differences:

  • Gang prevention grants: We are extremely pleased that both houses included continued funding for gang prevention grants. The Senate funds these at $250,000 per year, the House at $300,000 per year.
  • Drug Task Force: The Senate does not fund this; the House funds it at $1.5 million. 2011-13 funding was $2.5 million.
  • Liquor Control Board: Set to receive an additional $2.1 million for enforcement efforts.