AFA Update- Tuesday, January 20, 2015: Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry, State Board of Corrections and Department of Corrections

This afternoon AFA spoke with Commissioner Walt Whitcomb of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (ACF), representatives of the State Board of Corrections (SBOC) and Acting Commissioner Fitzpatrick of the Department of Corrections (DOC).

The full audio of today’s hearing can be found here.

Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

Commissioner Whitcomb gave a high level overview of the proposals in the Governor’s budget impacting his department.  Members of both the AFA and ACF committees asked clarifying questions about many proposals particularly the Governor’s intention to dismiss a net of 15 Forest Rangers and create new Natural Resource Law Enforcement Officers.

Materials from Commissioner Whitcomb can be found here.

State Board of Corrections

Executive Director Ryan Thornell and Sheriff Joel Merry, Chair of the SBOC addressed both the AFA and Criminal Justice committees about the ongoing needs of the SBOC. The Board has asked for an additional $2.5M to support county jail operations for the remainder of this fiscal year, FY15.

The Governor has not proposed any solution to this problem and has declined to appoint members to the Board that would allow that Board to act.  Ryan’s testimony is posted here. The SBOC’s 2014 Annual Report is available as well.

Corrections

The Acting Commissioner presented both AFA and the Criminal Justice (CRJ) committees with an overview of his department’s facilities and budget initiatives.

Schedule

Tomorrow AFA will hear from the Department of Education, the higher education institutions, The Department of Health and Human Services and Court Master Daniel Wathen to discuss the Consent Decree governing the operation of Riverview Psychiatric Center,

The full schedule for the rest of the week is here.

You may listen live through the Legislature’s website.

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