Wendy Leung, Staff Writer
Created: 01/28/2012 06:11:04 AM PST

Hoping to restore jail funding to San Bernardino County, an Inland Empire assemblyman introduced a bill on Friday that could potentially bring $16 million to county coffers.

Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucaipa, introduced AB 1556, which would direct jail funding to the county – funding that was not made available when the Adelanto Detention Center expansion project broke ground last year.

Cook was optimistic about the bill while acknowledging the uphill battle against other Sacramento leaders.

“We’ll do the best we can,” Cook said. “And if I get a bloody nose, so be it.”

In 2007, lawmakers allocated $1.2 billion for county jail construction projects. According to Joshua Candelario, deputy legislative director for San Bernardino County, Adelanto was at the top of the list to receive funding for its $111 million expansion project.

At the time, the local match, or the county’s contribution to the project, was 25 percent. However, lawmakers last year modified the local match requirement and signed a law that calls on counties to contribute 10 percent.

The new law does not apply to county jail projects already under way. In other words, Adelanto does not benefit from the lower match.

“Because the county played by the rules of the game, we should not be punished,” Cook said. “It’s just not right. We’re going to make a ruckus about it.”

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