"We could probably get about 1,200 inmates a year to receive the services they need to meet the parole board requirements," he said.
DeLong said the services cost about $1.5 million per year and would be funded by adding a surcharge to the Division of Correction's per diem charge for housing inmates. He said it could add $2 to $4 per day to that cost, depending on the number of inmates that receive services.
"Not that that's a fix, and it's not the best way to go, it's just something where the regional jail staff came together and said, 'They're under our roof, what can we do to get them the services they need?' " he said.
Many of the topics assigned to committees this year are based on bills that failed to pass during the recent legislative session.
The Joint Committee on Finance will study issues like revising the state's Homestead exemption for property taxes. The House of Delegates unanimously adopted a resolution during the last session that opened the door to increasing the tax exemption. The measure failed to advance in the Senate.
The Joint Committee on Judiciary will look at revisions to the state's Freedom of Information Act and laws barring felons from running or holding public office. Bills designed to address both of those issues died during the last session.
The Joint Committee on Education will study interscholastic student athlete safety issues, following up on the failure of a bill to stiffen rules protecting students from concussions and other head traumas.
Some topics address issues lawmakers have talked about in the past but not really focused on, such as creating a legislative Fiscal and Policy Division to provide an independent fiscal and economic analysis of proposed legislation.
The Joint Committee on Judiciary has been assigned to study whether the Legislature should create an independent commission to handle redistricting, which is seen as a way to reduce partisan influences that could have an impact on that process.
Kessler said the state's appeal over its congressional redistricting plan — which is currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court — might keep that topic on the back burner for a while.
"It's something I think would be picked up in the second half of the interim session than the first because we've still got that case pending in the Supreme Court," he said.
"I don't want to do anything that could maybe send a mixed signal to the court or have the court read into something that we we're taking some action that might affect or change the outcome of the pending court decision."
Kessler did point out that, because the state Constitution delays the start of the legislative session following gubernatorial election years, lawmakers will have an extra month to consider that topic in interim studies.
While many interim study topics are specific, some are far more ambiguous.
For instance, the Joint Committee on Economic Development has been asked to study "tax credits," the Joint Committee on Finance will look into "tax issues generally," and the Joint Committee on Government Organization has been tapped to research "efficiency in government."
Contact writer Jared Hunt at jared.h...@dailymail.com or 304-348-5148.