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HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 38
INTRODUCED BY B. BARNHART, J. MERCER
A JOINT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA REQUESTING THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL TO DESIGNATE AN APPROPRIATE INTERIM COMMITTEE TO STUDY, REPORT ITS FINDINGS, AND DEVELOP LEGISLATION ADDRESSING JUVENILE PROBATION OFFICER EMPLOYMENT AND SALARY ISSUES.
WHEREAS, the Montana Legislature, through the Montana Youth Court Act, has prioritized balanced and restorative justice for Montana youth; and
WHEREAS, juvenile probation officers are the primary front-line workers in the Montana youth justice system, and their jobs are challenging, important, and very demanding; and
WHEREAS, Montana juvenile probation officer salaries are set by District Court Judges, but the salaries are paid by counties through the county budget process, subject to County Commissioner approval; and
WHEREAS, the duality in the salary structure along with differences in each county's tax base has created wide discrepancies in pay rates for chief and deputy juvenile probation officers; and
WHEREAS, the state, through the Legislature, set a static statutory maximum and minimum on juvenile probation officer salaries, which created distortions in the distribution of juvenile probation officer pay across the salary range; and
WHEREAS, juvenile probation officers work at the pleasure of the court, which suggests the appropriateness of state participation in funding their salaries; and
WHEREAS, the community-based nature of youth justice programs improves the effectiveness of the programs and suggests merit in preserving the county and judicial district character of juvenile probation officer employment and salary decisionmaking.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
That the Legislative Council be requested to designate an appropriate interim legislative committee to:
(1) examine the funding and employment mechanisms currently in place for Montana juvenile probation officers;
(2) analyze options for addressing pay discrepancies;
(3) report its study findings and conclusions to the 57th Legislature; and
(4) develop, in cooperation with the Montana Juvenile Probation Officers Association, the Montana Association of Counties, the Montana Supreme Court Administrator, the Montana
Department of Administration, and other appropriate agencies, entities, and individuals, legislation to enact a more functional and consistent pay system for Montana juvenile probation officers.
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Latest Version of HJ 38 (HJ0038.ENR)
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