March | April 2017



Idaho Attorney General Seeks Funds to Fight Child Pornography

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden teamed up with state police in asking the legislature for $2 million in funding to help increase enforcement against child pornography crimes, The Associated Press reported.
During testimony to the House Judiciary and Rules Committee in January, Boise Police Detective Tim Brady told lawmakers the money would strengthen the state’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The task force is an alliance of local, state and federal law enforcement and prosecution agencies, focusing on those who criminally exploit children using the Internet.
The task force, which receives $220,000 in federal funding each year, is part of a national law enforcement network partially funded by Congress through the U.S. Department of Justice. That money only covers one full-time and one part-time administrator within the office of the state attorney general.
Under the proposal, a 14-person investigative team would be assembled to address cases where highly trained computer skills are needed. According to Brady, law enforcement personnel abandon many suspected child pornography leads they get due to lack of resources.
An estimated $1.1 of the $2 million in funding would come from a $20 increase on misdemeanor and felony conviction fees. The rest would come from tax dollars.
Idaho courts have recommended a study of the potential impact of fee increases, citing the fact that offenders already have a difficult time paying fees they owe now. The fee collection rate is only 48 percent for felonies and 79 percent for misdemeanors, according to The Associated Press.
Arizona Sen. Steve Gallardo in January introduced a bill that would make certain violations of campaign finance laws felony offenses, The Arizona Republic reported. Senate Bill 1195 would make the knowing violation of independent expenditure law a Class 5 felony, punishable by a maximum prison sentence of two and a half years. The law would apply to offenses involving contributions of $25,000 or more.
Colorado’s Senate Education Committee in January passed a bill that would allow illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition. Senate Bill 33 says students who graduate from high school and have attended a state school for at least three years would qualify to receive the in-state tuition rate regardless of their immigration status, according to The Denver Post.
Utah began sharing information on the mentally ill with the federal government through the National Instant Background Check System in January, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The state had previously kept its own list of those prohibited from purchasing a firearm within the state and would provide only a name to the federal database.
During his January state of the state address, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced plans to reopen Kulani Correctional Facility by July 1, 2014. The prison was closed in 2009 after the previous administration determined it was not fiscally responsible to keep it open, Hawaii News Now reported. The reopening of the minimum security facility would create more than 90 new jobs.
Oregon’s public pension fund yielded investment returns in excess of 14 percent in 2012, The Oregonian reported in January. The system had reported a $16.3 billion actuarial deficit at the end of 2011. With the 2012 investment gains, the fund still has a deficit almost $14 billion. In addition to the deficit reduction, the fund’s total assets are more than $61 billion, their highest level since the global financial crisis, according to the office of Treasurer Ted Wheeler.