SF 457– Civil court fines and fees
SF 457 is similar to legislation passed by the Senate in 2018 (SF 2394) to establish a dedicated funding stream for the Division of Criminal Investigation’s crime lab. This funding will speed up testing of sexual assault kits, which has been hindered by lack of staff and equipment. SF 457 provides more funding for the crime lab and also $9 million in technology money for the Judicial Branch to a dedicated fund that is not subject to appropriations. Under the bill, a percentage of the crime services surcharge that is added to criminal fines will go directly to the crime lab. The remaining criminal surcharge monies kept by the state will continue to go to the Victim Compensation Fund and to the newly created Drug Abuse Resistance Education Fund at the Office of Drug Control Policy.
The current system of fines, fees and surcharges allocates money to the General Fund, along with a number of diversions to existing funds. The bill increases numerous scheduled fines and non-scheduled fines for simple misdemeanors, serious misdemeanors, aggravated misdemeanors, “D” felonies and “C” felonies, as well as increasing certain civil filing fees. The bill also reduces the criminal surcharge that is added to all criminal fines and removes the Law Enforcement Initiative Surcharge, which is added to fines for a specified group of criminal violations. The increase in criminal fines combined with the reduction in the criminal surcharge from 35 percent to 10 percent provides a slight increase in the total amount charged to someone who has a criminal conviction with a fine imposed. The increased fines and increased civil filing fees will be deposited into the General Fund, while all of the criminal surcharges will be distributed for specific purposes (cities and counties, victim compensation fund, the crime lab, DARE fund). This proposal is projected to have a neutral impact on General Fund revenues while providing additional funding to the crime lab and DARE education. The bill also made changes to the first offense of illegally passing a stopped school bus and providing for a driver improvement program.
[3/11: 45-1 (No: Hogg; Absent: Elder, J. Smith, Zaun; Vacant: Danielson)]