The House Budget Committee heard requests this week from interested parties on why Governor Parson’s budget vetoes should be overridden at the September veto session. At issue were the 21 vetoes, totaling over $12 million, that Governor Parson rejected as part of the 2019 state budget.
Among the veto items was $487,000 to the Public Defender System to establish juvenile advocacy units in Kansas City and St. Louis. The units are to cover the entire state and provide guidance to juveniles involved with the court system. Michael Barrett, Director of the Public Defender System, noted that juveniles arrested for a non-violent criminal offense are often not offered the assistance of a public defender, but rather plead guilty to avoid having their parents find out about the criminal charge. Such a guilty plea could have lasting effects on their education, employment, housing and joining the military.