Sen. Kenneth Corn and Rep. John Trebilcock on Tuesday announced that an agreement to provide some of the most significant public safety funding increases in state history, including funding for additional drug interdiction agents and pay increases for state troopers, has been reached.
Corn, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and Judiciary, said leaders have agreed to a package that increases public safety appropriations by more than $80 million in the 2007 fiscal year.
“It’s been my goal this session to ensure our public safety entities have adequate resources to protect Oklahomans, and this agreement provides some of the most significant funding increases in state history,” said Corn, D-Howe. “We were able to work in a bi-partisan fashion to fund areas of critical need, such as our county jails, our state troopers and medical examiners. This agreement marks a significant victory for all Oklahomans.”
Corn praised the efforts of Rep. John Trebilcock, Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and Judiciary, for his role in crafting the funding agreement.
“Rep. Trebilcock understands that we are facing nothing less than a public safety crisis in Oklahoma,” said Corn. “Our greatest concern as lawmakers is the safety of our citizens, and he has acted responsibly in answering the call to help our agencies perform their vital functions.”
The agreement will raise the budget of the Department of Corrections by more than $45 million, an increase of 11.4 percent. The plan will provide a $10 million increase for the Department of Public Safety, including over $800,000 for state trooper pay raises, Trebilcock said.
“We had an opportunity this session to address a number of critical problems facing public safety in Oklahoma,” said Trebilcock, R-Tulsa. “Our prisons, our troopers and our drug enforcement officials all faced challenges that required the help of the legislature, and I’m pleased we have been able to reach this agreement allowing our agencies to move forward in creating a safer Oklahoma.”
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs will receive funding to hire additional agents for the purpose of fighting Mexican drug cartels that have infiltrated the state. Overall, the plan increases the OBN budget by more than 17 percent, and provides a 20 percent funding increase to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
Other key provisions of the agreement include the following:
· $629,625 for increased reimbursements at county jails that house state prisoners.
· $434,589 to bring OSBI agent salaries to the regional average
· $450,000 for operating costs at the new CLEET facility
· $417,000 to the Medical Examiners office for hiring eight district investigators
· $2,144,000 to the Department of Public Safety for probationary trooper salaries
· $334,837 for a 10 percent pay raise for District Court reporters