State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

AG Kane asks for budget boost to fight drug crime, child abuse

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Feb 20, 2013 3:33 PM
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Photo by Mary Wilson / witf

The state attorney general is asking lawmakers for a roughly $12 million budget boost.

About a week after Attorney General Kathleen Kane upended the Corbett administration’s effort to privatize the lottery, she’s warning lawmakers of a different threat if her office doesn’t receive more money.

Mexican drug cartels and child predators were the buzzwords of Kane’s remarks to the Senate Appropriations Committee. To fight such crime, she asked for $6 million to add staff.

“That would include making sure that the child predator unit can stay at the same funding levels as well as then increase some of the agents who can track the child predators,” said Kane. “And also, for the mobile street crimes unit, we would have to put some people out on the street.”

Kane said an additional $6 million will be needed to compensate for the 7.8 percent increase in her office’s expenses, bringing her total request to more than $12 million.

The governor had proposed to flat-fund the Office of the Attorney General. Kane said that would necessitate about 57 layoffs and possibly some closed offices.

Her warnings of drug gangs and roving child predators overshadowed questions about her office’s decision to flunk the lottery contract in a routine legality test, but Kane affirmed that such a rejection is a rare occurrence.

She said in 2012, not a single contract was denied by the two lawyers in her office who handle contract reviews. They handle about 5,000 contracts a year. But Kane said the lottery contract was unusual.

“We have not had a contract put before us for review for form and legality of this magnitude or this scope in many, many years,” said Kane.

Last week, Kane’s office rejected the agreement with British firm Camelot Global Services on the grounds it violated the state constitution and state law.

The Corbett administration has returned Camelot’s $50 million bid security payment as it contemplates whether or not to appeal in court.

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