The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee met this morning to vote on a series of “trailer” appropriation bills, to appropriate funds to match bills that already are making their way through the Legislature. Most have passed on fairly routine, unanimous votes; an exception was the appropriation for SB 1114, formalizing regional behavioral health boards. No additional funds are being added to the Department of Health & Welfare’s Mental Health Services division; instead, the trailer bill reappropriates unspent money within the department and permits transfers between programs. Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, said both he and the department were comfortable that that plan would work. It was approved on a 17-3 vote.
Also approved this morning were funding bills for a new Internet Crimes Against Children Unit in the Idaho Attorney General’s Office, at $2 million, which will be covered by a transfer from the office’s consumer protection fund; and $212,600 for a new unit to investigate elected county official misconduct, in line with SB 1080.
At the close of this morning’s meeting, co-chairman Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, said, “This may be our last meeting, we’ll see.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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