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Eye On Boise

Lawmakers congratulate courts on surcharge idea

Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, told state courts Administrative Director Patti Tobias, “My congratulations on bringing forth the concept of a surcharge to provide additional revenue for a  critical function of the state.” He asked if the judiciary had any more ideas along those lines. Tobias responded that for now, the surcharge to preserve court services is the judicial branch’s top priority. The bill “will be introduced tomorrow, hopefully, in the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee,” she said. In the back row of the audience, that committee’s chairman, Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, nodded affirmatively.

Tobias told JFAC, “Today we have come with some solutions - solutions we believe are necessary for delivering justice.” The surcharge on offenders, she said, is “literally to keep the courthouse doors open to all Idahoans … to provide basic fairness, public safety and the timely delivery of justice for all Idaho communities as well as all Idahoans.” JFAC Co-Chair Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, told Tobias, “You’ve been tremendous partners in this economic downturn. … I know judges have been on the bench on days they were not paid.” Overall, Tobias got a positive reception for the courts surcharge proposal. It would impose a $25 surcharge on all infractions and crimes committed.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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