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County says Day, Barnitz oppose keeping felons out of state prison
PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (April 26, 2010) — County commissioners reported at their Monday morning meeting that they’ve spoken to State Rep. David Day, R-Dixon, and State Rep. Dan Brown, R-Rolla, and both men share Pulaski County’s view that a proposal to prevent most convicted felons from entering the state prison system unless they commit three felonies is unacceptable.

The proposal made in Senate Bill 1014, which commissioners discussed at last week Monday’s meeting, would substantially reduce the state’s prison population by specifying that people convicted of Class D or Class C felonies, generally those with a maximum sentence of less than seven years, can only be sent to the state prison system if they’ve committed at least three felonies.

While inmates could still be housed in the county jails, county commissioners say that will cause worse problems because counties would then no longer be reimbursed for the time they spent in county jails awaiting trial on state charges. The problems will be particularly severe for Pulaski County, they said, because the county doesn’t have enough space for its inmates and routinely sends half or more of its inmates to other counties which may not have space in the future.

“I guess the lobbyists have been trying to tell them what our feelings were. I know I had spoken to David via e-mails,” said County Clerk Diana Linnenbringer. “Those are additional expenses that will be pushed onto the counties.”

Eastern District Commissioner Bill Farnham said he’s made direct contact with Brown, who is running for the state senate seat currently held by Sen. Frank Barnitz, D-Lake Spring.

“I did talk to Rep. Brown and he assured me he would vote against SB 1014 and he assured me Rep. Day and a lot of other representatives would vote against that bill. He said he understands the kind of financial pressures that type of bill would push on the counties,” Farnham said.

Western District Commissioner Ricky Zweerink said state reductions could end up being even worse.

“I heard on the radio on the way coming over here that they are still a half-million dollars short on how they are going to balance the state budget. Where are the rest of the cuts going to come from?” Zweerink asked.

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