Jun. 16, 2015

HARRISBURG – House Judiciary Committee Majority Chairman Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin) was pleased that various pieces of legislation addressing the issues with the collection of restitution for victims of crime were passed today during the Judiciary Committee’s scheduled weekly voting meeting.

“Late last session, the House Judiciary Committee convened an informal working group of five members to review the topic of restitution and identify necessary legislation on the topic,” said Marsico.

This working group was composed of Rep. Todd Stephens, Rep. Marcy Toepel, Rep. Dom Costa, Rep. Sheryl Delozier, and then-Rep. Deberah Kula. Several other members participated actively in discussions within the committee on this subject and I appreciate all of the work done on this important topic.

As part of this working group’s efforts, a hearing was organized by the committee where testimony from the Restitution in Pennsylvania Task Force was received. The Restitution Task Force was convened by the Pennsylvania Office of the Victim Advocate and brought together key stakeholders, agencies and organizations from across all stages of victim restitution work. The task force conducted a thorough review of restitution processes at the state and local level in order to identify gaps and develop recommendations to maximize the justice systems’ effectiveness.

“The task force set forth its recommendations in a final report. Many of the recommendations made by the task force did not require legislation, and have already been implemented, or are in the process of being implemented by different government agencies, the courts and the counties,” said Marsico. “But some of the recommendations do require legislation to be implemented. Five of the bills passed today are based on recommendations from the task force and are the product of our working group on the issue of restitution.”

The bills considered today were as follows:

House Bill 123 (Delozier), which would provide for the deduction of restitution, fees, fines and costs from bail monies that would be otherwise returnable to a defendant.

House Bill 758 (Toepel), which would authorize wage attachment for the payment of restitution, fines and costs. This bill maintains first priority status for support payments and grants second priority to restitution. House Bill 1070 (D. Costa), which would require that each county establish an internal unit dedicated to the collection of restitution, fines, fees, and other court-imposed obligations. Counties that outsource collections are not subject to the requirement. The bill also enhances an existing data-collection mandate.

House Bill 1089 (Stephens), which would provide for mandatory deductions from inmates’ wages and deposits made to inmates’ personal accounts for the fulfillment of restitution, costs, fees, and other court-ordered obligations. Current law authorizes, but does not require, such deductions.

House Bill 1167 (Rep. Bryan Barbin) would require that the amount of any outstanding restitution, court fees, fines, or court costs be deducted from any state income tax refund that otherwise would be remitted to a taxpayer.

The legislation will now go to the full House for further consideration.

Representative Ronald Marsico
105th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Autumn R. Southard, 717.652.3721