Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, was one of a parade of committee chairs to address the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee over the past two days. The joint committee is taking input from the germane committee chairs on the budgets for the agencies the committees deal with, in anticipation of starting setting agency budgets next week. In Clark’s pitch, he talked about his bill to shift $2 million in liquor proceeds from the general fund to expand drug courts, allowing 275 more offenders to enroll. He argued that will save the state money in the long run, because it’s cheaper than building prison space and locking up those offenders. Clark also pushed for $250,000 to fund a state Office of Drug Policy, including an administrator and two staffers, rather than the $140,000 previously in the governor’s budget for a “drug czar.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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