Subscribe to receive our Floor Reports covering all the action on the Texas House and Senate floor!
Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for SB 1010, Committee Report 1st House, Substituted: an impact of $0 through the biennium ending August 31, 2017. The bill would make no appropriation but could provide the legal basis for an appropriation of funds to implement the provisions of the bill.
Under the bill provisions, the OAG indicated the fiscal impact for
administering the Compensation to Child Pornography Victims Fund would
be $273,073 in fiscal year 2016, $144,123 each fiscal year from
2017-2019, and $159,123 in fiscal year 2020. Costs include salaries for
2.0 FTEs, general operating, lease space, postage, travel, capital
equipment, and benefits.
The Office of Court Administration and the Comptroller of Public Accounts indicated the costs associated with implementation of the bill could be absorbed with existing resources. The Comptroller of Public Accounts (CPA) and OAG indicated the revenue collected from court order restitution cannot be estimated.
This legislation would do one or more of the following: create or recreate a dedicated account in the General Revenue Fund, create or recreate a special or trust fund either with or outside of the Treasury, or create a dedicated revenue source. The fund, account, or revenue dedication included in this bill would be subject to funds consolidation review by the current Legislature.
No significant impact to local government.
By requiring people convicted of child pornography offenses to pay restitution directly to victims or, if the victims can not be identified, to a fund for the benefit of other such victims, SB 1010 links an important aspect of the penalty directly to the crime for the benefit of victims of the crime. Too often victims of crime are left with little to no assistance which leaves justice not fully served. Requiring a person convicted of a crime to financially assist the victim furthers personal responsibility on behalf of the convict and individual liberty on behalf of the victim. For these reasons we support SB 1010.
As a word of caution we note that provisions such as this that tend to be somewhat open-ended can tend to become overly punitive with time. The original intent can get distorted and the amount that convicts are required to pay can become burdensome enough that payment is impossible which leads to further unintended consequences that neither serve the interests of justice nor benefit the victims. For this reason we recommend the legislature amend SB 1010 to clearly define the maximum amount that a defendant may be required to pay and the maximum length of time for which payments are required.