Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/15/1995 01:09 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 HJUD - 03/15/95                                                               
 HB 150 - RECEIPTS FOR BAIL FORFEITURES                                      
 Number 450                                                                    
 CHRIS CHRISTENSEN explained as money becomes shorter and the state            
 is trying to ratchet down its activities a little bit, we are                 
 constantly looking for ways, perhaps to decrease the judicial case            
 load and the clerical work load.  That is the motivation for this             
 piece of legislation.  Back in the 1970s, the legislature enacted             
 a system by which a person cited for a traffic offense, instead of            
 showing up in court, wasting everybody's time, could simply mail in           
 a certain amount, and that would take care of the ticket.  The                
 Supreme Court was authorized to determine which particular traffic            
 offenses could meet this without a court appearance, and they                 
 established a fine for each offense.  The bill continually refers             
 to "bail".  He was not sure why they call it "bail," it is really             
 a fine, not bail.  So do not confuse this with what we normally               
 think of as bail.  Initially, the statute required the court system           
 to provide a receipt to any person who paid their fine by mail.               
 There are roughly 45,000 or 50,000 of these people a year.  You can           
 imagine how much it costs to have clerks type up a receipt, put it            
 in an envelope, and mail it out 50,000 times.  It was so costly, we           
 developed a receipt stamp which we would put on the back of a                 
 person's check.  Since even this costs money when you do it that              
 many times a year, the legislature repealed a receipt requirement             
 back in 1987.  However, even though we are no longer an obligation            
 to provide receipts to people who mail in traffic tickets, we                 
 always will do that if requested.  Over the years, a number of                
 other mail in bail statutes have been passed, authorizing the                 
 payment of fines by mail.  This bill concerns itself with those               
 citations in the area of birth defect warning signs, fish and game            
 violations, smoking in public violations, parks and recreational              
 facilities violations, and oversized vehicle violations.  There are           
 roughly 10,000 citations issued each year in these areas that you             
 are allowed to pay by mail, if you are ticketed.  The problem is,             
 the court system has been getting complaints from banks, telling              
 them they are not supposed to be putting stamps on the backs of               
 checks.  Accordingly, HB 150 amends these five statutes to require            
 the court system to provide a receipt, if requested.  This is the             
 same requirement the legislature imposed for violations of the                
 alcohol/beverage title a few years ago.                                       
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE noted it is commonly accepted in the real                
 world that a cancelled check is a receipt.                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN made a motion to move HB 150 out of                
 committee with individual recommendations and the zero fiscal note.           
 Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.                                      

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