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Archive for Friday, May 11, 2012

Statehouse Live: Senators seek alternative funding for contract providing services to domestic violence victims

May 11, 2012

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— Senators upset with how the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services has handled a contract for assisting victims of domestic violence have proposed an alternative funding method.

"We will be re-instating what has worked for years in the state of Kansas," said state Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka.

On Friday, Kelly proposed shuffling several funds and moving $1 million in state general revenue dollars to a domestic violence grant program within Gov. Sam Brownback's office.

Kelly and several other legislators have criticized SRS for putting into the program new requirements, such as requiring victims submit to psychological evaluations. The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, which has contracted for the services for 13 years, said the requirements would put victims at greater risk. The coalition withdraw from bidding for the contract.

SRS officials say that many of the requirements were set by federal policy for the federal dollars. Several legislators said they thought SRS mis-interpreted the federal rules.

Kelly's proposal would replace the federal funding with state funding. She conceded there was no guarantee that Brownback would put aside the SRS requirements, but said she hoped he would. The measure is now part of budget negotiations in a House-Senate conference committee.

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