When the legislature convenes a month from now, one of the first things on the agenda is likely to be restoring some funding to the state’s prison system. Republican House Speaker Christopher Rants is aware the democratic governor has also called for increasing funding for the prison guards. He says public safety is the basic function of state government and they’ll do what’s necessary to ensure the safety of the guards. Rants says with more than eight-thousand inmates in prisons across the state, hundreds of layoffs in the department could put both the remaining guards and the prisoners at risk from outbreaks of violence. If revenues hold with some optimistic estimates, Rants says there will be a little extra money to start the fiscal years, but he’s being very cautious. He says that small amount is really just from the month of July’s estimate, and he worries that we shouldn’t “bank on” what might happen then to make big spending plans. Rants says they’ll have a better idea after the state’s panel of budget experts meets Friday, to estimate revenues for the next several months.
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