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Lawmakers Weigh In On Supreme Court Prison Decision

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, May 23, 2011

Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton says the court's decision came as a shock to him:

Dutton: "I think it's unbelievable."

But Dutton says California has also brought some of this on itself - by dragging its feet on building new prison facilities:

Dutton: "The governor needs to really take a firm hand - all of us do - and expedite these types of facilities and get them up and running so that we can better protect the public."

Democratic Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg says the court's decision strengthens support for Governor Jerry Brown's plan.  He wants to shift thousands of prisoners from state prisons to county jails - and pay for the move with tax extensions:

Steinberg: "So the timing is I think very significant and I hope it is another push to get this budget done in a responsible way."

Democrats have already passed legislation to put the so-called realignment plan into place - but they need Republican votes in order to fund it.  In a statement, Governor Brown said the Court's ruling recognizes that the realignment plan is key to reducing California's prison population.
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