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Lane Co. May Get More Money for Safety

EUGENE, Ore. — The proposal to reduce the Oregon’s prison population may mean more money will be on its way to Lane County.

State lawmakers on Monday approved a bill that could send Lane County an additional $3.4 million for public safety.

The money is part of HB 3194. It calls for a change in the way certain criminals, such as non-violent offenders, are punished. Instead of going to prison, they’ll be at the county level.

That’s where the additional funding comes in. It will go to county programs that deal with parole, probation, and a variety of non-profits that help people deal with substance abuse.

While the money will help, Lane County spokeswoman Anne Marie Levis says there’s still plenty of work to do.

“It’s not like we’re at a perfect level at this point,” Levis said. “That being said, we’re in a much better place than we than before we were when the levy was passed by the voters and before this bill passed from the state.”

There is some tempered enthusiasm. This money approved by lawmakers is part of a formula, but does not include money for the Lane County District Attorney’s Office.

Without being able to prosecute more cases, the DA says that could impact the state’s formula and ultimately cause the state funding for the county to drop.

The bill is headed to Governor Kitzhaber’s desk.

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