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Attorney General Lockyer Statement on Governor's Proposed Budget
(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today issued this statement about Gov. Gray Davis' proposed budget for the 2003-04 fiscal year, and its impact on key public safety assistance to local law enforcement agencies:
"In these tough fiscal times, we all understand that we must tighten our belts and review the programs and valuable services that we provide to ensure we are delivering key services in the most fiscally-responsible and effective means possible. In the context of this unprecedented fiscal crisis, I believe the governor's budget proposal for the Department of Justice is generally fair and reasonable. As a result, my office will find ways to implement the governor's proposed cuts, which, on top of the $10 million hit we were dealt during this current budget year, will result in the loss of an additional $25.5 million.
"However, there are proposals to slash some crucial services that we provide to local law enforcement agencies that we strongly object to and urge the governor to seriously reconsider. Local communities wage a daily struggle to provide basic public safety to their communities, despite shrinking budgets and limited resources. I believe my department must continue to provide critical assistance to local law enforcement agencies by analyzing crime scene data in our 10 state crime labs at no cost. First-rate forensic services should not be available only to larger, wealthier law enforcement communities, but should be a basic service for all of California's communities, no matter how rural or cash-strapped.
I also will fight for continued grant funding to better prosecute spousal abuse cases and funding to protect victims and witnesses whose testimony is critical in gang-related homicides and other violent crimes. I believe elimination of these programs as they now exist will have a severe impact on public safety and critically-needed law enforcement services.
"I also urge the Governor to seriously consider providing sufficient funding to assist local law enforcement in their efforts to register and track sex offenders in their communities. The Department of Justice's sex offender registry database is only as good as the information police and sheriffs can provide us. Having accurate information is essential for citizens seeking to protect their families using the Megan's Law system to look up sex offenders to in their communities."
Fact Sheet on the programs: