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Vetoed Legislation In Oklahoma Could Cause Sheriffs To Violate T - KOAM TV 7

Vetoed Legislation In Oklahoma Could Cause Sheriffs To Violate The State Constitution

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MIAMI, OKLAHOMA -

     Governor Mary Fallin vetoed a bill that would've eliminated financial consequences to counties that don't report state inmates in their custody in a timely manor.
     There's now a concern that veto would cause sheriffs to violate the state constitution.
Jeremy Floyd, Ottawa County Sheriff: "You know, unfortunately that is a bill that did not get passed, and now we're going to suffer the consequences of it."
Ottawa County Sheriff Jeremy Floyd says those consequences state wide could easily total hundreds of millions of dollars.
The cost - comes from keeping state inmates in county custody - and the county doesn't receive immediate reimbursement.
Floyd: "We probably on a fast turn around, we're looking at probably 30-45 days, and I've seen them being held here as long as 18 months before they're sent to DOC."
DOC Director Joe Allbaugh sent a letter to Governor Fallin - twelve days before the veto.
In that letter he raised concerns that requiring the DOC to immediately compensate county jails without proper notification would put the DOC budget in a tough spot. 
However, Attorney General Mike Hunter issued an opinion last year raising other concerns, that by not having the DOC immediately fund county jails for housing state inmates would violate the constitution.
In that opinion, hunter said requiring a county to use tax revenues to cover costs, "violates Article ten, section 9-a of the Oklahoma Constitution" because it is the state's responsibility to pay for its inmates, regardless of where they're housed.
Additionally, the Ottawa County Jail is slightly above it's max capacity - placing additional strain on the facility.
Floyd: "The state says this is your limit, but, what do we do?  We can't let people go especially that are violent, or that's been convicted, we have to keep them incarcerated until the state says bring them here."
     Sheriff Floyd says the jail's capacity is 124.
     They're slightly above that now.
     About 25 are state inmates.
     He says they're also using Craig County to house state inmates.
 

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Chris Warner
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A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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