Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/05/2004 03:04 PM House FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE BILL NO. 534                                                                                                            
        An Act extending the termination date of the office                                                                     
        of victims' rights.                                                                                                     
SARA  NIELSEN,  STAFF TO  REPRESENTATIVE  SAMUELS,  explained                                                                   
that HB 534 simply extends the  sunset date for the Office of                                                                   
Victims' Rights to 2010.  The  Office provides legal counsel,                                                                   
education and assistance to victims of crimes.                                                                                  
Co-Chair  Williams noted  that  the usual  extension is  four                                                                   
years, and asked the reason for  this extension.  Ms. Nielsen                                                                   
replied that some  of the cases are longer than  one year and                                                                   
the sponsor wanted to ensure that  current victims would have                                                                   
assistance  in  the  future.  The  Office  doesn't  have  the                                                                   
typical one-year "wrap up" of other boards and commissions.                                                                     
Representative  Stoltze commented that  the Senate  passed SB
105 [Twenty-Second Legislature,  2001] and it didn't have the                                                                   
sunset date, and  he questioned why HB 534  needs the sunset.                                                                   
Ms.  Nielsen  replied  that  the   Twenty-second  Legislature                                                                   
passed SB  105 and the  original bill  did not have  a sunset                                                                   
date. The House Judiciary Committee  added the sunset date to                                                                   
give parameters.  Governor Knowles  vetoed the original  bill                                                                   
in the  Twenty-first Legislature, which  also did not  have a                                                                   
sunset date.                                                                                                                    
Representative  Stoltze asked if  the sponsor had  a position                                                                   
on whether  the sunset  date is  needed. Ms. Nielsen  replied                                                                   
that the  sponsor would support  not having a sunset  date at                                                                   
all because the Office of Victims'  Rights is included in the                                                                   
annual audit by the Legislative Budget & Audit Committee.                                                                       
Representative  Chenault  questioned why  FY  2007 on  Fiscal                                                                   
Note #1 shows an increase to more than $500 thousand.                                                                           
KARLA SCHOFIELD, DEPUTY DIRECTOR,  LEGISLATIVE ADMINISTRATIVE                                                                   
SERVICES,  LEGISLATIVE  AFFAIRS  AGENCY, explained  that  the                                                                   
current  termination date  for the  Office would  be July  1,                                                                   
2006, which is  actually FY 07. For the next  two years, this                                                                   
funding would  be included in  the regular budget, as  it has                                                                   
been in the  past. Once FY 07  begins, and if the  Office was                                                                   
extended, this would be a continuing cost through FY 2010.                                                                      
Representative  Chenault  brought  up  the  language  in  the                                                                   
fiscal  note Analysis  dated 4/5/2004  that states, "If  this                                                                   
legislation passes,  the funding  for the Office  of Victims'                                                                   
Rights  will continue  to be  included  in the  Legislature's                                                                   
budget."   Ms.  Schofield explained  that  it would  probably                                                                   
continue to be in the Legislature's budget through FY 06.                                                                       
Representative Croft proposed  deleting rather than extending                                                                   
the effective  date from FY 06  to FY 10, and the  title, but                                                                   
he  didn't  want to  hold  up  the bill.  He  asked  Co-Chair                                                                   
Williams  how  to do  a  conceptual amendment  to  accomplish                                                                   
Representative  Stoltze  thought  that the  original  statute                                                                   
contained  sunset  repealers,  and it  would  simply  involve                                                                   
repealing those.                                                                                                                
Ms. Nielsen thought  that the sponsor would  be supportive of                                                                   
a conceptual amendment removing the termination date.                                                                           
Representative  Croft MOVED to  ADOPT a conceptual  amendment                                                                   
eliminating the  termination date for the Office  of Victims'                                                                   
Rights  to  make  it a  continuing  office.  There  being  NO                                                                   
OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                                   
Representative  Foster MOVED to  report CSHB 534(FIN)  out of                                                                   
Committee with the accompanying  fiscal note.  There being NO                                                                   
OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                                   
CSHB 534(FIN) was REPORTED out  of Committee with a "do pass"                                                                   
recommendation and with one accompanying  fiscal impact note.                                                                   

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