TOPEKA – (June 13, 2013) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today issued the following statement regarding the budget bill enacted by the Legislature, which has now been presented to the Governor for his signature:
“I commend the Legislature for reaching agreement on a state budget for the next two fiscal years. While the overall bill is sound, a small number of specific provisions would create unintended and unnecessary problems for public safety. Therefore, I have asked Governor Brownback to veto three items.
“First, I have asked the Governor to veto the proposed use of $600,000 in concealed carry license applicants’ fees for other purposes. License application fees should not be converted into a tax on gun owners to pay for general government services.
“Second, I have asked the Governor to veto the proposed ‘salary cap’ as applied to the Attorney General’s Office and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. The cap would hamstring both the Attorney General’s Office and the KBI in performing core public safety functions by awkwardly micromanaging our ability to participate in federally funded and fee-funded programs, such as drug-enforcement efforts and certain prosecutions.
“Third, I have asked the Governor to veto the proposed use of millions of dollars from anticipated future litigation – money that has not yet been recovered. The Office of Attorney General should not be managed like a plaintiff’s law firm, and spending funds we have not yet recovered is poor public policy that weakens the state’s business climate by setting quotas for future litigation recoveries.”
The Kansas County and District Attorneys Association joined in support of the Attorney General’s request and released the following statement:
“With more than half the County Attorneys’ offices in the state of Kansas having three prosecutors or fewer, the Kansas Attorney General’s Office plays a key role in assisting in prosecutions when called upon. The budget cuts and salary cap included in the recent appropriations bill will pose a significant public safety threat if the Attorney General is forced to cut back his Criminal Litigation Division and reduce assistance to County Attorneys’ offices around the state.”
In addition, the Kansas Sheriffs Association, the Kansas Peace Officers Association, and the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police asked the Governor to take steps to reduce the budget’s negative effects on public safety services.