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House backs boost in state payments to counties to house state prisoners

The House has voted 47-20 in favor of HB 456, to raise the rate the state pays counties to house state inmates in county jails from $40 a day to $50. Some House members objected to the sharp increase because of its cost - $2.19 million a year to the state general fund. Rep. Darrell Bolz, R-Caldwell, vice-chair of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, said he urged the Idaho Sheriffs Association, which proposed the bill, to phase in the increase, but the sheriffs refused.

Rep. Janet Trujillo, R-Idaho Falls, the bill’s House sponsor, said, “This is a cost savings to our counties and to those taxpayers that have to make up the difference.” The rate hasn’t been raised since 2000; the state now has 600 state prisoners housed in county jails. Trujillo said even the $50 rate doesn’t cover all of counties’ costs to house state prisoners, and it’s below the amount the state pays to house Idaho inmates out of state. The bill now moves to the Senate side.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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