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Andersson Moves to Overhaul Court Fee System

State Representative Steve Andersson recently presented House Bill 2591 to the State Government Administration Committee in the House of Representatives. This is an extremely complex piece of legislation that would create the Criminal and Traffic Assessment Act to overhaul the court fee system and ultimately reduce the large number of fees paid by citizens in court.

This bill was brought forward to Rep. Andersson and Rep. Elaine Nekritz who both served on the Statutory Court Fee Task Force. The Task Force’s work over the course of two years helped create the parameters of this legislation.

Current law allows courts to impose various fees and different fee schedules for criminal and traffic assessments. Andersson’s bill would consolidate these into a single Act through HB2591, and change the assessments to different rates. This change would streamline the process, making it easier to navigate and more transparent. Court fees have escalated over the years, and this bill would ensure that the fees could be reduced to more reasonable levels. Lastly, the bill provides for a waiver system for lower income individuals, to reduce the severe and often long term impact these fines can have on those from on the lower end of the socio-economic scale.

Representative Andersson has worked diligently with colleagues, proponents and opponents to the bill in order to find the best way to change current law. “Due to the complex nature of this legislation, I am committed to continuing to work on this legislation to pass a good bill. The changes proposed to the current law would make for a more efficient process, one that is more transparent and works to relieve any undue burdens placed on citizens by hefty court fees,” said Andersson.

Rep. Andersson stressed the difference in this bill between fees and fines. This legislation would affect fees distributed by the courts through the clerical process, something that varies between court systems and is separate from fines required to be paid and specific to offenses committed.

Witnesses were called to testify in Committee on behalf of the bill. A proponent of the bill, explained the impact of court fees, and provided meaningful testimony on just how large the impact is on those who have trouble paying fees. Below is a video from the Committee hearing where you can view more remarks from Representative Andersson on the bill.

 

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