On Saturday, February 24th the Senate Ways & Means Committee heard E2SHB 1783 (Holy). This bill prohibits courts from imposing court costs on defendants who are indigent and eliminates interest accrual on non-restitution portions of legal financial obligations.
We testified as “other” on this bill because we do not oppose the policy, but rather the resulting cost to counties.
However, the Senate included in its supplemental budget $5 million to provide for a grant program for counties and cities to “offset criminal justice costs that may result from the enactment of criminal justice legislation, such as Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 1783.”
The funds provided are required to “be used for indigent defense or other costs that directly impact court operations in criminal cases.” Because of this backfill money, we did not oppose the change in policy.
However, we note that the House did not include in its supplemental budget money to support this bill. It is scheduled for executive action on February 26, 2018.
Watch the hearing on TVW here.