Daily Archives: June 5, 2013

Prison-system cuts could endanger public safety

Cuts to the state’s prison system aren’t as bad as lawmakers initially proposed, but they are still deep and could endanger public safety. Jeremy Barclay, spokesman for the Kansas Department of Corrections, said the minimum cut to the department would be $5.6 million next fiscal year, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. As a result, KDOC expects to eliminate $2 million for a new community corrections initiative and $1.2 million in community corrections grants, and it will lay off 10 employees who provide programming for inmates preparing for release and another 10 who work in parole operations. The budget also cuts $700,000 for juvenile corrections and $600,000 that would have funded a dozen correctional officer positions, the Capital-Journal reported. “It does make Kansas less safe any time you make cuts to programs that rehabilitate or restrict parole officers,” Barclay said.

Another legal blow to Kobach

Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who used to teach constitutional law, always predicts that the laws he writes for Kansas and other states will stand up in court. Then they run into trouble. In another recent case, a federal judge declared that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office had been racially profiling in its local efforts to address illegal immigration, which were conducted in conjunction with $300-an-hour training of deputies by Kobach. Kobach also co-wrote Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070, much of which was struck down last year by the U.S. Supreme Court. Kevin Johnson, dean of the law school at the University of California-Davis, told the Arizona Republic: “It seems to me that police departments across the country are on notice that maybe Kris Kobach is not the best person you want to put together a program that is going to withstand legal scrutiny.” Of course, Kobach disagreed: “The judge has written his opinion in a way that doesn’t respect the inherent authority of local law enforcement.”

Romney came closer than many think

President Obama’s big electoral win in the 2012 president campaign was closer than it might have seemed, the Washington Post reported. Obama defeated Mitt Romney in New Hampshire, Ohio, Florida and Virginia by only 429,000 votes. If Romney could have won just more than half of those voters (a big “if”), he would have won in the Electoral College. Of course, close elections aren’t new. John Kerry needed fewer votes than that in 2004 to win Ohio and the presidency, and Al Gore only needed a few hundred votes to win Florida in the 2000 election.