Rep. Pat Colloton, chair of the House’s Corrections committee, says she has found a legislator on the budget committee willing to at least talk about putting $2 million in the budget for community corrections related to DUI offenders.
That money has been in play all day as leaders of a conference committee have been working Senate Bill 6, which would stiffen penalties for DUIs and create a central repository to track offenders, among other actions.
In a bold move this morning, Sen. Tim Owens, chair of the state’s DUI commission, refused in a conference committee to talk more about the bill until his counterparts in House appropriations and Senate ways and means find $2 million for community corrections.
Owens said both sides are unwilling to discuss Senate Bill 6, “which I will say publicly is an abomination.”
“I do not understand the reticence of both sides,” said Owens, R-Overland Park and chair of the Senate’s Judiciary committee.
Colloton, R-Leawood, agreed, saying “nobody will just say ‘Hey, should we address this?’ But nobody will, and that is really pathetic.”
Owens this morning said he’s not going to send the measure without the funding for community corrections. Colloton has proposed moving parts of the bill into another to get as much as passed as possible.
Rep. Melody McCray-Miller, D-Wichita, said Sedgwick County is concerned about funding for corrections at the state level, saying it will become the burden of counties as DUI offenders return to jails.
She called the $2 million in question a “backfill.”
“There are additional monies that are needed,” she said.
In response, Owens said counties statewide are going to have to “get real” about funding corrections.
“We have to put our share in for the state,” but the reality is that counties also are going to have to find money if criminal justice is deemed a priority, he said.
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