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Attorney General Josh Stein Weighs in on the Legislature’s Budget

Release date: 5/29/2018

(RALEIGH) In response to the budget legislation released last night, Attorney General Josh Stein made the following statements:

The Good:

CJ Fellows Program
“All across our state, law enforcement agencies have unfilled positions due to a lack of qualified candidates. In fact, the North Carolina Criminal Justice Training and Standards Commission has canceled more than 50 Basic Law Enforcement Training courses since 2014 due to low enrollment. Fewer cadets entering law enforcement training means we have fewer new officers. At the same time, the challenges facing our communities resulting from the opioid epidemic, cybercrime, sexual assault, and other crimes are immense.

“I was pleased to see the legislature authorize the Criminal Justice Fellows Program, a program my office designed. This program will recruit in-state high school seniors and provide them with a forgivable community college loan to pursue a career in law enforcement. Those who serve in North Carolina as state or local law enforcement officers, correctional officers, deputy sheriffs, detention officers, or law enforcement telecommunicators for four years will see their loans forgiven. Communities need smart, well-trained, public-spirited individuals to keep people safe and communities vibrant – and the CJ Fellows Program will help to accomplish that worthy objective. While there is no funding currently allocated for this program, I look forward to working with the legislature to fund these fellowships next year. I thank Sen. Shirley Randleman for her leadership on this issue.”

Public Service Announcements for Good Samaritan Law
“Far too many people are dying as a result of the opioid epidemic – and in many cases their lives could have been saved by appropriate emergency treatment, such as naloxone. That is why our state has a Good Samaritan Law that protects people from prosecution when they contact emergency services related to an overdose. Raising awareness for this life-saving policy is critically important, and I look forward to doing so.”

The Bad:

DOJ Budget
“Last year, the legislature gutted my Department’s budget with a last-minute, damaging $10 million cut. That cut required me to eliminate 45 positions – including attorneys who keep criminals behind bars, protect our environment, and go after deadbeat parents who don’t pay child support. Despite widespread support among law enforcement, the legislature failed to restore those cuts.”

Drug Treatment
“Despite an opioid epidemic that kills approximately three North Carolinians a day, the legislature failed to appropriate much-needed drug treatment and recovery resources. This is wrong. Tens of thousands of North Carolinians are struggling with opioid use disorder, yet only one of ten receive effective treatment. We would never accept a health care system in which 90 percent of the people with heart disease don’t receive medical care – and we shouldn’t accept it with the illness of substance use disorder.”

The Ugly:

Sexual Assault Kits Testing and Tracking
“At the direction of the legislature, my office recently conducted a survey to determine the number of untested sexual assault kits sitting in local law enforcement offices. We found that there are more than 15,000 untested kits in our state. I have asked the legislature for funding to test these kits and to develop a tracking system to ensure that we never get to this point again. The legislature did neither. This failure is irresponsible and unacceptable. Each of the thousands of sexual assault victims deserves better. I will continue to fight for them until we appropriately address this issue in North Carolina.”

“This legislature demonstrated a contempt for transparency when spending North Carolinians’ money. The people of this state have a right to have their voices heard about how their tax dollars are spent. Unfortunately, this closed process prevented people from even knowing what is in the budget before it was finalized. This is simply no way to govern.”

Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484


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