Sex-trafficking law could cost county $255,000 a year

Because of the aggressive measures taken by Sedgwick County officials, including a staffing reduction of more than 10 percent in the past couple of years, the county’s chief financial officer, Chris Chronis, was able to report to the County Commission last week that the county would avoid a budget deficit again in 2013. But among the reasons for “heartburn,” Chronis said, is the bill targeting human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children, Senate Bill 61, being pushed by Gov. Sam Brownback and Attorney General Derek Schmidt. While acknowledging the importance of the issue, Chronis told commissioners that because the bill “would cause certain juveniles to have to be housed in the county’s juvenile corrections facilities,” the annual cost to the county would be about $255,000. “That is a new cost to Sedgwick County if that bill should be passed,” Chronis said. And it did pass the Senate the next day, on a 38-0 vote, and head for the House.