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Relating to an election to approve a reduction or reallocation of funding or resources for certain municipal or county law enforcement agencies.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
SB 23 would require a county or municipality to hold an election if their proposed budget reduces funding or employment for their primary law enforcement agency or reallocates funding from that agency to another. A significant budget reduction as a result of a natural disaster would be exempt from the requirement. The ballot proposition would have to include detailed information on each proposed reduction or change and the county or municipality would not be allowed to use public funding to campaign for a certain side of the election.
SB 23 would permit a resident of a county or municipality who believes they have violated the requirement to file a complaint with the Governor's office. The Comptroller, upon referral of a valid complaint by the Governor’s office, would have to investigate whether a county or municipality has violated the election requirements. They would be permitted to institute a tax rate freeze on the county or municipality if they find that the county or municipality violated any requirements.
This legislation is clearly an attempt to address the problem of certain municipal governments choosing to significantly defund their local police departments; an issue the state has a legitimate interest in correcting. The approach of SB 23 has the meritorious distinction of leaving the final decision in the hands of the people who would have to live with the results of defunding the police which uplifts our individual liberty and limited government principles. For these reasons we support SB 23.