|Posted:||January 27, 2017 10:08 AM|
|From:||Representative Kurt A. Masser|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Victim Funding (Former HB 772)|
|I am re-introducing this legislation amending the Crime Victims Act by providing more money for services provided to victims by raising the costs assessed against offenders. It is important to note that the fees imposed under the Crime Victims Act have not been raised by the General Assembly since 2002.
Last session, this bill was amended on the House floor to include language requested by the Victim Advocate. Rep. Mullery offered the amendment, which was adopted by the House unanimously. Accordingly, this legislation includes that language. Specifically, the bill amends the Crime Victims Act by referring to a duty of the Victim Advocate which appears in Title 23 (relating to address confidentiality program). The Victim Advocate asked that a reference to that duty be placed in the Crime Victims Act as a matter of clarification. The bill was subsequently passed by the House and died in the Senate.
With respect to fees, according to the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, the amounts set 12 years ago are simply inadequate to meet the needs of crime victims. Without additional funding, the ability to serve the needs of victims will be eroded. Such services include helping victims compose victim impact statements, accompanying victims to court proceedings, making victims aware of the status of investigations and of bail and other decisions made by judges, and providing assistance with securing restitution from the offender.
Currently, those who are found guilty or are placed in a diversionary program must pay a cost of at least $60, while those who are adjudicated delinquent must pay a cost of at least $25. My legislation will raise the cost assessed on the guilty and those in a diversionary program by $50 and the cost assessed on those adjudicated delinquent by $10. Hence, under the legislation, a person found guilty of a crime will have to pay a cost of at least $110, while a person adjudicated delinquent will have to pay a cost of at least $35.
Introduced as HB971