HB1622 (2008) Detail

Allowing counties to implement a first-time offender alcohol and substance treatment program, requiring the department of justice to administer grants to counties for such program, and making an appropriation therefor.


HB 1622-FN-A – AS AMENDED BY THE HOUSE

18Mar2008… 0907h

2008 SESSION

08-2500

04/01

HOUSE BILL 1622-FN-A

AN ACT allowing counties to implement a first-time offender alcohol and substance treatment program, requiring the department of justice to administer grants to counties for such program, and making an appropriation therefor.

SPONSORS: Rep. Fontas, Hills 24; Rep. Pantelakos, Rock 16

COMMITTEE: Criminal Justice and Public Safety

ANALYSIS

This bill establishes a first-time alcohol and substance treatment program in the department of justice and makes an appropriation for the purposes of the bill.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

18Mar2008… 0907h

08-2500

04/01

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eight

AN ACT allowing counties to implement a first-time offender alcohol and substance treatment program, requiring the department of justice to administer grants to counties for such program, and making an appropriation therefor.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 New Subdivision; First-Time Alcohol and Substance Treatment Grant Program. Amend RSA 21-M by inserting after section 16 the following new subdivision:

First-Time Alcohol and Substance Treatment Grant Program

21-M:17 First-Time Alcohol and Substance Treatment Program.

I. The first-time alcohol and substance treatment (FAST) program provides an alternative to prosecution for first-time drug and alcohol offenders who are charged with violation- or misdemeanor-level drug or alcohol offenses. Upon referral to the FAST program, an offender shall, within a specified period of time, complete the program requirements which may include the following: a screening with a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, substance abuse education, a correctional facility tour, random drug testing, weekly contact with a case manager, and payment of a program fee. Upon successful completion of the program requirements, the prosecutor shall enter a nolle prosequi on the charges against the offender. A county which implements the FAST program shall charge a fee to program participants.

II. If the offender fails to complete the program, the prosecutor may proceed against the offender as charged. The prosecutor shall determine a sentence offer prior to the offender’s referral to the program. If the offender fails to complete the program, the prosecutor shall not recommend an increase in any incarceration, fine, or probation contained in the original sentence offer, but the prosecutor may recommend the addition of counseling, treatment, or other rehabilitative measures to the sentence.

21-M:18 First-Time Alcohol and Substance Treatment Grant Program.

I. There is hereby established in the criminal justice bureau of the department of justice a first-time alcohol and substance abuse treatment (FAST) grant program. A county attorney’s office which implements the FAST program as described in RSA 21-M:17 shall be eligible to receive grants, to the extent of available funds, to defray the costs of program implementation and operation.

II. Any county attorney’s office which, after 2 or more years of operation, realizes a profit on the operation of a FAST program shall only use such profit to maintain or improve the FAST program.

III. Grant applications shall be submitted to the department of justice on a form developed by the attorney general.

21-M:19 First-Time Alcohol and Substance Treatment Grant Fund.

I. There is hereby established a first-time alcohol and substance treatment (FAST) grant fund. The fund shall be nonlapsing and shall be continually appropriated to the department of justice for the purposes of this section. Subject to the availability of money in the FAST program grant fund, the attorney general shall make grants for the establishment and maintenance FAST programs in each county.

II. A FAST program shall be eligible to receive grants under this section if such program:

(a) Is within the office of a county attorney; or

(b) Is a program approved by the attorney general and provides services to persons convicted of or charged with alcohol or substance abuse offenses.

III. A FAST program shall expend sums received under this section only for the operation of a FAST program.

IV. No more than 8-1/2 percent of the money in the FAST program grant fund shall be used by the attorney general for the costs of administration of the fund.

V. The attorney general may accept private donations and contributions in support of a FAST program. Such moneys shall be deposited into the FAST program grant fund established in this section.

21-M:20 Rulemaking. The attorney general shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, relevant to the amount of grants awarded and procedures for grant application and disbursement.

2 New Subparagraph; Application of Receipts; First-Time Alcohol and Substance Treatment Grant Fund. Amend RSA 6:12, I by inserting after subparagraph (268) the following new subparagraph:

(269) Moneys deposited in the first-time alcohol and substance treatment grant fund established in RSA 21-M:19.

3 Appropriation. The sum of $1 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009 is hereby appropriated to the first-time alcohol and substance treatment grant fund established in RSA 21-M:19. The governor is authorized to draw a warrant for said sum out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated.

4 Effective Date. This act shall take effect July 1, 2009.

LBAO

08-2500

Amended 03/20/08

HB 1622 FISCAL NOTE

AN ACT allowing counties to implement a first-time offender alcohol and substance treatment program, requiring the department of justice to administer grants to counties for such program, and making an appropriation therefor.

FISCAL IMPACT:

The Judicial Branch states this bill, as amended by the House (Amendment #2008-0907h), will reduce state expenditures, state general fund unrestricted revenue, state restricted revenue, county revenue, and local revenue by an indeterminable amount in FY 2009 and each year thereafter. There will be no fiscal impact on county and local expenditures.

This bill appropriates $1.00 from the state general fund in FY 2009 to the first-time alcohol and substance treatment grant fund for the purposes of this bill.

METHODOLOGY:

The Department of Justice states this bill creates a first-time alcohol and substance treatment (FAST) program that will be administered by the Department. The bill establishes a non-lapsing FAST grant fund from which the Department shall make grants. The Department is able to use up to 8½% of the grant fund to cover administrative costs. The Department assumes any of its costs will be covered by the 8½% administrative fee.

The Judicial Branch has no information on the number of counties that would implement the program or how many cases would be diverted to calculate the fiscal impact. However, the Branch states the diversion of a case to a FAST program will reduce judicial case costs during the trial and post disposition proceedings. Additionally, the clerical time to process a case will be cut by 50 percent. The total cost savings by diverting a case to a FAST program is $16.10. The Branch states for each case diverted there will be a decrease in fine revenue. The mandatory minimum fine is $300 plus penalty assessment for minor in possession of alcohol cases. In minor, in possession of alcohol cases, 75% of the fine revenue goes to the county and municipalities with 25% remaining with the state. The penalty assessment is 20% of the fine amount with 65% of that amount going to the police standards and training council training fund, 20% to the victims’ assistance fund, and the remaining 15% to the general fund. The Branch estimates the county and local revenue will decrease by an average of $225 per diverted case, state general fund revenue will decrease by $84 per case ($75 from fine revenue and $9 from the penalty assessment), police standards and training council training fund revenue will decrease by $39 per case, and the victims’ assistance fund will decrease by $12 per case. In addition, the state may also have a decrease in revenue from minor drug offense cases that may be diverted. These cases have fines that average $300 plus a penalty assessment.

The Judicial Council states this bill may result in fewer appointments of counsel but will not have a significant impact on indigent defense expenditures. The Council states if an individual is found to be indigent, the flat fee of $275 per misdemeanor is charged by a public defender or contract attorney. If an assigned counsel attorney is used the fee is $60 per hour with a cap of $1,400 (effective January 1, 2008). The Council also states additional costs could be incurred if an appeal is filed. The public defender, contract attorney, and assigned counsel rates for Supreme Court appeals will be $2,000 per case (effective January 1, 2008), with many assigned counsel attorneys seeking permission to exceed the fee cap. However, such motions to exceed the fee cap are seldom granted. Finally, expenditures would increase if services other than counsel are requested and approved by the court during the defense of a case or during an appeal. The impact of this bill may be that misdemeanor level offenses for first-time offenders may result in fewer appointments of counsel. The Council notes many counties and local communities already have court diversion programs and the impact of savings as a result of this bill may be negligible, as these programs already divert cases that otherwise might be found to meet the criteria for indigent defense.

The New Hampshire Association of Counties states this bill provides counties the option to establish a FAST program if they choose to do so. To the extent this bill is enabling only and allows the counties to continue to implement independent county controlled and funded FAST programs, there is no fiscal impact on county expenditures or revenue.

Links

HB1622 at GenCourtMobile

Action Dates

Date Body Type

Bill Text Revisions

HB1622 Revision: 11811 Date: Jan. 1, 2008, midnight

Docket