Legislators began action Wednesday on $37.1 million in appropriations to help four agencies, including corrections and public schools, get through the fiscal year that ends June 30.
In the SenateThe Senate passed House Bill 2253 that gives the Corrections Department a $24 million supplemental appropriation that will finance nearly 7,400 inmate spaces for the agency during this fiscal year. Senators also passed House Bill 2259 to appropriate $2 million to the Office of Juvenile Affairs. The $2 million will include improvements for the L.E. Rader Center in Sand Springs. The two bills now go to the House of Representatives. When the agreement for these two supplemental funding measures was announced, Corrections Director Justin Jones said the $24 million would pay for nearly 4,000 private prison beds. It also would pay counties for about 1,300 inmates who are in county jails awaiting transfer to the prison system, would finance 600 inmate beds under contract with county jails and 1,400 spaces in halfway houses, Jones said
In the HouseThe House passed $10 million in supplemental funding for public schools. The vote was 93-0. The measure includes $1.5 million for the Academic Achievement Awards program. The House also passed a measure, 97-2, to give $3.1 million to the Corporation Commission in part to supplement delayed federal funding. The public schools funding is to make up a shortfall in the House Bill 1017 account, which is funded mostly by income tax collections. House Appropriation and Budget Committee Chairman Ken Miller, R-Edmond, said budget leaders will continue to watch collections into the HB 1017 fund through April to get a more definite idea on how much more money schools will need for the rest of the fiscal year. The bills approved in the House go to the Senate before going to the governor for his signature.