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State Senate Rejects Prison Bonds


Aired 4/19/09

A $7 billion plan to build new medical facilities in California's prison system has been rejected by the state Senate. The money was requested by the federal receiver. From Sacramento, Marianne Russ reports.

Court appointed Receiver Clark Kelso asked for the seven billion dollars in bonds to improve existing medical facilities and build new ones. He's in charge of bringing medical care at the state's prisons back up to constitutional standards. But Republicans opposed the measure. They argued it was premature because of a potential court settlement over prison overcrowding. Kelso now has the option of asking a federal judge to take the money right out of the state treasury. But the Senate will take the measure up again Thursday and Kelso is hopeful he can change some minds. 

Kelso:  "Before running off to federal court, I'm obligated to see if I can secure the necessary funding and resources from the state."

If the measure fails again Thursday, Kelso says he may ask for a smaller amount of money, at least $100 million, to fund construction planning through the summer before dealing with the larger sum.

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