Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has announced the release of $1.5-million dollars for the state’s cyber crimes task forces.

Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) is the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee

Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) is the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee

Nixon had been withholding that money, saying that the state didn’t have enough money to release it, but today released that and another $20-million for various items citing a $21.5-million dollar settlement between Missouri and financial ratings firm Standard and Poor’s.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) has been calling on the governor to release the cyber crimes task force money.

He said those units are important, “to make sure that we’re keeping sexual predators away from our kids.” Schaefer adds, “I think that his release of it shows that he finally understands how important it is.”

Schaefer notes the state is more than halfway through the fiscal year, and the release of that money now could be too late for some of those task forces.

“Some of them may have already shut down shop, and whether they start that back up, I think, is going to be contingent on an understanding this is continued funding, or is this just a one-time release for six months and then they’re not going to see it next year because the governor’s not going to give it to them?”

Nixon has included $1.5-million for cyber crimes task forces in his proposed budget for the new fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Emily van Schenkhof

Emily van Schenkhof

Missouri KidsFirst Deputy Director Emily van Schenkhof has also been calling for the release of that money, and said her organization is, “over the moon,” at the governor’s action.

In a statement van Schenkhof writes, “These law enforcement units are some of our state’s most effective agents of public safety and do incredible work in taking predators off the street. The importance of protecting our children from sexual abuse cannot be overstated, and we are thankful to the governor for releasing the funds and to the members of the Missouri General Assembly who fought for this funding to be restored. Today is a beautiful day for Missouri’s children and the people who are working to protect them.”

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