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News State / Region

Measure approved by legislative committee

A bill approved Wednesday by a House committee would help stop offenders from repeating their crimes by removing barriers that keep them from finding lawful jobs, Attorney General Roy Cooper said.

“Turning ex-offenders into productive citizens makes all of us safer,” Cooper said. “Too often, former offenders get derailed when they can’t find a way to earn a living. This bill will help by removing some of the obstacles once ex-offenders show that they can live responsibly.”


As North Carolina faces one of the largest state deficits in the country--roughly $2.5 billion--the Senate Justice and Public Safety Appropriations subcommittee has proposed to cut millions of dollars, hundreds of jobs and two holding facilities from the Department of Juvenile Justice and Crime Prevention (DJJDP) in order to reduce spending.

Department officials say that the proposed cuts will do more harm than good for the state.

Last year, approximately 31,198 youth were involved in department community service programs throughout the state, with 19,984 facing court services. In the 28 westernmost counties, 3,893 youth were involved in the court services, while 5,763 were in community service programs.


Proposed legislation could drastically alter services.

Education is not the only social service that stands to be gutted in the state budget negotiations currently under way in Raleigh. Public health services are also on the chopping block.

According to Jim Bruckner, Macon County’s Director of Public Health, several pieces of proposed legislation could dramatically impact local public health services, including a proposal to abolish the Health and Wellness Trust Fund (HWTF), which helps to fund preventative health programs targeting tobacco use and obesity.



The North Carolina Senate will soon decide how early “early voting” can be. The state House has passed its version of a bill to reduce the amount of time polling sites can be open before elections, by one week. Republican backers of the idea suggest it will save county governments money, but the people who administer the elections say it would actually cost more.

Bev Cunningham, director of the Henderson County Board of Elections in Hendersonville, says her elections staff would be much busier, for a shorter time period.


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