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Does the Oregon Legislature’s 2011 HB 2712 Strangle Local Courts?

Editorial: State strangles local courts,” by Jad Lemhouse and Joe Charter Democrat, December 7, 2011:
When over-hauling criminal procedures in HB 2712, the 2011 Legislature reduced traffic fines and enlarged judicial discretion over such offenses. However, a new “priority payment” to the State in HB 2712 threatens the viability of many municipal and justice courts. The children’s fable of the “goose that laid golden eggs” describes similar prospects for local courts: Strangulation by revenue transfer to the state.
Section 6b of HB 2712 creates a $60 replacement fine for the $37 Unitary Assessment. This section requires that $60 (or the amount of the fine if the fine is less than $60) be paid “to the state before any other distribution of the fine is made.”
The revenue transfer to the state caused by Section 6b will take 30 to 50 percent or more of total court revenue, depending upon the most common type of offenses filed in a particular local court. A revenue loss to local governments of this magnitude is simply insupportable….” [Link to full editorial.]
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