Senator Richard Devlin and Representative Nancy Nathanson, co-chairs of the Joint Ways & Means Committee, released their budget framework today to prepare for the upcoming legislative session.
Public Safety programs will see a 3.1% reduction from the current service level in the current biennium. The co-chairs budget is considering reductions in these areas:
- Close the 50-bed North Coast Youth Correctional Facility and reduce more than 175 community treatment beds statewide for youth in custody of the Oregon Youth Authority.
- Significantly reduce the Drug Enforcement section in the Oregon State Police, a shift of much of the State Police’s Criminal Investigations Division onto marijuana tax funding, and close the Pendleton Forensics Laboratory.
- Reduce community corrections funding to counties and provide fewer alcohol and drug treatment services for adults in the custody of the Department of Corrections.
- Reduce funding available to the Department of Justice’s Defense of Criminal Convictions divisions.
- Reduce Criminal Fine Account support for basic police and corrections classes at the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training. The impact of this reduction would be felt at the local level, where public safety agencies must wait to send their new hires through the required training classes.
- Reduce rates charged by the Department of Justice.
The Judicial Department, Public Defense Services Commission, and Commission on Judicial Fitness & Disability will also see a reduction from current service level of 3.4%. Reductions are being considered in these areas:
- Apply projected OJD General Fund ending balances to address 2017-19 biennium costs. These are additional resources not included in the General Fund revenue forecast.
- Reduce Criminal Fine Account support for courthouse security. This would reduce support for needed security upgrades and for added security for high-profile cases.
- Reduce support to county law libraries, county mediation/conciliation programs, the Oregon Law Commission and the Council on Court Procedures.
- Reduce support for state court system operations. This would require staffing reductions in the Trial and Appellate courts and at the Office of State Court Administrator. The Chief Justice would allocate remaining resources to minimize the impact on court operations. Likely impacts would be to reduce court operating hours and services and to delay case processing.
- Reduce PDSC support for trial-level public defense. Absent other adjustments to the contracts with attorneys who provide these services, providers would not be funded and would not be required to provide representation for a portion of the biennium. During that period, prosecutions could not proceed.
- Reduce support for the PDSC Appellate and Contract & Business Services divisions. This would require staffing reductions in the agency. The impacts would be to increase the time for filing appellate opening briefs and the potential for federal intervention. The reduction would also increase the time it will take for the agency to audit contractor fee statements and to process contractors’ reimbursement requests.
For the full budget framework, visit: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/lfo/Documents/2017%20Co-Chair%20Document.pdf
Contributed by: Patrick Sieng | AOC Public Safety Policy Manager