The2nd meeting of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Justice, Corrections, and Judiciary of the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue was held on<Day> Thursday, October 25, 2001, at 11:00 AM, at Eastern Kentucky University, Funderburk Building, Room 211, Richmond, Kentucky. Representative Jesse Crenshaw, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Guests: Dr. Robert E. Beagley, EKU College of Justice & Safety; Mike Mullins, Department of Juvenile Justice; Barbara W. Jones, Justice, Office of Secretary; Keith Hardison, Justice Corrections Department; Joe Gray and Garlan Vanhook, Administrative Office of the Courts; Pat West and Steve Lynn, Department of Criminal Justice Training.
LRC Staff: Kim Phelps, Steve Mason, Jerry Bailey, and Bettina Abshire.
Chairman Crenshaw asked if the members had a chance to review the minutes of the January 24, 2001 meeting. Representative McKee made the motion to approve the minutes as submitted. The motion was seconded by Representative Simpson and passed without objection.
Commissioner John Bizzack, Department of Criminal Justice Training, welcomed the subcommittee to the Eastern Kentucky University campus, and specifically to the Funderburk Criminal Justice Building.
The first item on the agenda was a discussion of the Justice Cabinet FB 2000-2002 budget. Ms. Barbara Jones, General Counsel for the Justice Cabinet was present to represent Secretary Robert F. Stephens. Ms. Jones introduced the subcommittee to Mr. Vertner Taylor, Commissioner of the Department of Corrections. Commissioner Taylor, along with his assistant, Ken Dressman, made a presentation on the status of the budget for the Department of Corrections, along with the impact of recent General Fund reductions. Mr. Dressman stated that the General Fund and Restricted Funds reductions for the Department of Corrections totaled $9,866,000, which is equivalent to a 3.2% reduction in the department’s appropriation levels.
Chairman Crenshaw inquired as to the source of the Restricted Funds and how the amounts were generated. Mr. Dressman responded that the receipts are primarily inmate telephone revenues, totaling approximately $4 million annually.
In response to Representative Webb’s question regarding the current status of the inmate telephone contracts, Mr. Dressman responded that the department re-bid the contract last fall and includes all fourteen of the state’s Correctional Facilities. Representative Webb asked if the current contract was more equitable than the prior contract and if the department anticipates any changes in the next budget cycle. Mr. Dressman explained that it was a five-year contract and the rates stipulated in the contract are significantly below the cap set by the Public Service Commission.
Representative Webb asked what kind of impact the budget reductions have had on the Correctional Industries program. Mr. Dressman stated that the department anticipates a reduction in revenues in the program, because the majority of the revenues for Correctional Industries is derived from other state agencies. Mr. Dressman also reiterated that the department plans to continue its commitment to provide inmate education programs.
Representative Webb expressed her concern regarding inmates, their families and her desire for the Department of Corrections to work closer with the community based services that are attempting to positively impact the lives of the inmates and their families, including physical interaction between parents and their children.
Chairman Westwood asked Mr. Dressman to discuss the department’s FY 2001-02 vacancies and to verify that none of the vacancies were the result of employee layoffs. Mr. Dressman responded that the vacancies would not jeopardize public security and that the vacancies were not from layoffs. Chairman Crenshaw asked if the present economy was going to exacerbate the high turnover rate and how would it effect the agency’s retention rate. Mr. Dressman responded that they expected it to help the situation in terms of being able to recruit.
Commissioner Ralph Kelly, Department of Juvenile Justice, discussed the status of the budget for the Department of Juvenile Justice. Mike Mullins, Director of Administrative Services assisted Commissioner Kelly. Mr. Kelly explained that the reductions for the Department of Juvenile Justice were implemented as a result of delaying the opening some of the department’s juvenile detention facilities. The department also reduced the funding support for the county subsidies and the agency’s cash balances to achieve budget reductions totaling $2.1 million in FY 2000-01. He briefly discussed various accomplishments made by the agency. The Department of Juvenile Justice will absorb budget reductions totaling $4.9 million in FY 2001-02, of which $4.3 million are General Fund dollars and $600,000 are Restricted Funds.
In response to Representative Butler’s question regarding the rate for the county subsidies, Commissioner Kelly verified that the rates were increased during the current fiscal year from $60.00 to $80.00 per day, effective July 1, 2001.
Chairman Crenshaw asked if there were negative impacts as a result of the budget reductions, including the delaying the implementation of existing projects. Commissioner Kelly responded that the reductions, thus far, have delayed certain projects; however, reductions pertaining to the Private Child Day Care programs are resulting in additional pressure being put on the state system to house more children. He also mentioned that the next round of budget reductions for FY 2001-02, will affect some of the agency’s program areas. Commissioner Kelly noted the department has attempted to be creative in protecting program areas, including alternatives to incarceration and prevention programs.
Chairman Crenshaw asked what it would take to maintain the current probation and parole officers’ caseload at 80 cases per officer. Mr. Dressman responded that in FY 2002-03 an additional $1.7 million would be needed and in FY 2003-04, $1.9 million.
Colonel John Lile represented Commissioner Ishmon Burks, to discuss the State Police Budget. Mr. Mike Hewlett, Director of Fiscal Affairs was also present to assist Colonel Lile. Colonel Lile informed the subcommittee that the reduction in the agency’s Restricted Funds was from moneys collected from the concealed deadly weapons programs.
Representative Webb expressed her concern regarding the Central Laboratory and the backlog. Colonel Lile agreed and noted that it was the agency’s intent to ask the legislature for additional assistance in the Central Laboratory function and for the continuation of programs.
Chairman Crenshaw asked the subcommittee for approval of the following appropriation increases presented by staff person Stephen Mason: Justice Administration, #800, Restricted Funds totaling $115,987; #998, Restricted Funds totaling $145,000; Adult Institutions, #1013, Restricted Funds totaling $115,400; and Corrections Management, #1102, Federal Funds totaling $127,500 and #1103, Restricted Funds totaling $42,500. An Emergency Appropriation #l014, Restricted Funds in the amount of $52,500 was reviewed, but no action was required by the subcommittee. The Emergency Appropriation replaced Appropriation Increase #1014 that was transmitted prior to the declaration of emergency. Representative Simpson made a motion to recommend approval of the increases to the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriation and Revenue. Representative Webb seconded the motion and the motion was approved by voice vote.
Mr. Ken Schwendeman, Director of Administrative Division, Department of Criminal Justice Training, was present and addressed the status of the department’s budget. He explained that the department would need additional funding support for the current fiscal year to support training costs and stipends. Chairman Crenshaw asked Mr. Schwendeman if there was any concern about having sufficient moneys for the Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation Program Fund (KLEPF) and being able to provide for the current level of participants and future participant levels. Mr. Schwendeman responded that an additional $1.6 million is needed in the current fiscal year and an additional $4 million in FY 2002-03 will be needed.
The Judicial Branch budget was discussed next. Representing the Judicial Branch was Chief Justice Joseph Lambert, Ms. Cicely Lambert, Director, Administrative Office of the Courts, and Mr. John Kilkenny, Budget Manager. Ms. Lambert discussed the Judicial Branch budget including, Court Operations and Administration, Local Facilities Fund, and the Judicial Retirement. She addressed the status of each of the appropriation units noted, and identified the items that will require funding this fiscal year. The first item discussed was the additional five judgeships authorized by the General Assembly during the 2001 Regular Session. The next item discussed was the need to fund additional Court Interpreters, due to an increase in non-English speaking persons. Chairman Crenshaw asked if these interpreter services are provided through contracts. Mr. Kilkinney explained that a service called “Language Lines” is primarily used in court proceedings, such as preliminary arraignments and pre-trial services. These services are used for specific situations requiring limited time; thereby, contracting for these services is the most cost effective means of providing these services. Chief Justice Lambert added that the annual cost for the services provided by Language Lines totals $40,000. Representative Webb suggested sharing resources in order to have this service regionalized and accessible.
Representative McKee asked that if the money was available, what kind of timetable would be required to replace the courthouses. Garland Vanhook, General Manager of Facilities, explained that the projects appropriated in the current budget will come on-line and require funding support for the use allowance cost by July 2004.
Representative Simpson asked if the judgeships authorized during the 2001 Session had come on-line yet. Ms. Lambert responded that they are to become operational April 1, 2002.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 12:20 p.m.