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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: February 22, 2017 09:25 AM
From: Representative Patrick J. Harkins
To: All House members
Subject: Court-ordered fines – Attachment of State Income Tax Refunds and Lottery Winnings (former HB-1046)
In the near future, I plan to re-introduce House Bill 1046, legislation permitting the attachment of an individual’s state income tax refund and/or lottery winnings for the payment of amounts owed in delinquent court-ordered fees and restitution.

Some time ago, I met with district justices and law enforcement officials in my district who expressed concern with the increasing number of delinquencies in the payment of court-ordered fines and restitution. During our talks, a solution was discussed which would allow for the mandatory attachment of a delinquent individual’s state income tax returns and/or lottery winnings. Said attachment would be made for the express purpose of paying down court-ordered fines or restitution currently in arrears.

This legislation empowers the Department of Revenue, through the utilization of the established Magisterial District Judge System (MDJS) and Common Pleas Case Management System (CPCMS,) to identify individuals owing arrearages of court-ordered fees and restitution; as well as the amount of the arrearages. Once identified, the individual’s state income tax refund and/or lottery winnings will be attached in payment of owed amounts prior to any payout being made to the delinquent individual.

A one-time notification will be sent to all persons currently in arrears with regard to their court ordered fines at the implementation of this act. Individuals later pinpointed by the department as a candidate for attachment will receive a detailed notice and will be given an opportunity to appeal prior to the attachment being made.

When a citizen is found to be in violation of the law and sentenced to pay a fine, it is imperative that they make all attempts to satisfy this debt. Creating a viable avenue for law enforcement, district justices and judges to collect outstanding court-ordered fees and restitution is critical in maintaining capital for our municipalities, while at the same time ensuring that victims are made whole.

I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1266