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There is no significant fiscal implication to the State.
According to the Office of Court Administration, the bill would create
additional revenue for counties and municipalities. Counties could
collect an estimated $2.4 million in increased filing fee revenue. In
addition, certain counties could see an increase in revenue to support
alternative dispute resolution, if applicable. The Office of Court
Administration reported municipalities could collect an estimated $3.5
million in new revenue from the filing fee in nondisclosure cases.
According to the Office of Court Administration, there would be an impact on local courts associated with the handling of new petitions for orders of nondisclosure. The impact to a local entity would differ by jurisdiction; however the Office of Court Administration reported that the additional workload could be handled within existing resources.
HB 329 would allow an individual who is convicted of and has satisfied the judgment for or has received dismissal after deferral of disposition (deferred adjudication for fine only misdemeanors) can get an order of nondisclosure for a fine-only misdemeanor regardless of whether the person has been previously convicted or granted a dismissal for a fine-only misdemeanor.
The court would be able to issue an order prohibiting criminal justice agencies from disclosing certain public criminal history record information and would permit a court to require the defendant perform community service or pay fees as a condition of granting the petition. A criminal justice agency would be prohibited from disclosing certain information to parties other than other criminal justice agencies or certain other noncriminal justice agencies. There would be a $28 fee for the filing of a petition which would be deposited to the credit of the general fund of the municipality or county. The bill would prohibit a business entity from publishing criminal record information if the business has received notice of an order of nondisclosure.
This bill would affirm the principle of limited government by giving individuals a legal recourse to prevent a minor violation of the law from preventing them from being able to possess an apartment or job or suffer other long term adverse consequences that even a minor criminal violation can result in. For this reason, we support HB 329.
The court $28 filing fee does seem somewhat unnecessary and it may be worth giving consideration to removing or at least reducing that fee.