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HOUSE BILL NO. 246
INTRODUCED BY R. PECK
A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT GENERALLY REVISING THE DISTRIBUTION OF DISTRICT COURT FUNDS TO COUNTIES; STATUTORILY APPROPRIATING MONEY FOR ADDITIONAL PURPOSES; AND AMENDING SECTIONS 3-5-901 AND 7-6-2352, MCA."
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Section 3-5-901, MCA, is amended to read:
"3-5-901. State assumption of certain district court expenses -- designation as district court criminal reimbursement program. (1) To the extent that revenue is available under 61-3-509, the state shall fund:
(a) the following district court expenses in criminal cases only:
(i) salaries of court reporters;
(ii) fees for transcripts of proceedings;
(iii) witness fees and necessary expenses;
(iv) juror fees;
(v) expenses for indigent defense; and
(vi) expenses for psychiatric examinations;
(b) the district court expenses, as listed in subsection (1)(a), in all postconviction proceedings held pursuant to Title 46, chapter 21, and in all habeas corpus proceedings held pursuant to Title 46, chapter 22, and appeals from those proceedings; and
(c) the following expenses incurred by the state in federal habeas corpus cases that challenge the validity of a conviction or of a sentence:
(i) transcript fees;
(ii) witness fees; and
(iii) expenses for psychiatric examinations.
(2) If revenue received under 61-3-509 exceeds the amount appropriated by the legislature to fund the expenses of the appellate defender program, the excess amount is statutorily appropriated, as provided in 17-7-502, to the supreme court to fund the expenses described in subsections (1)(a) through (1)(c) and (3) of this section and the costs of administering this section.
(3) If money appropriated for the expenses listed in subsection (1):
(a) exceeds the amount necessary to fully fund those expenses, up to $500,000 of the excess amount must be used for youth court and probation foster care placements if the department of corrections certifies to the supreme court that appropriations for youth court and probation foster care placements will be inadequate to fund those costs and remaining excess amounts must be used for district court grants as provided in 7-6-2352; or
(b) is insufficient to fully fund those expenses, the county is responsible for payment of the balance."
Section 2. Section 7-6-2352, MCA, is amended to read:
"7-6-2352. State grants to district courts -- rules. (1) The state shall make grants, to the extent funds are available after expenses provided for in 3-5-901 are funded, to the governing body of a county for the district courts for assistance, as provided in this section.
(2) The governing body of a county may apply to the supreme court administrator for a grant by filing a written request
on forms provided by the administrator by August 20 for the previous fiscal year unless the administrator grants a time
extension upon request of the county. In its request for a grant, a county
must shall certify that:
(a) all expenditures from the district court fund have been lawfully made;
no transfers from the district court fund have not been or will not be made to any other fund; and
no expenditures have not been made from the district court fund that are not specifically authorized by 7-6-2511 and
(3) To the extent funds are available, the state shall award a grant if the county's district court expenditures for the previous fiscal year exceeded the sum of:
(a) the product of the maximum mill levy authorized by law for district court purposes, whether or not assessed, multiplied by the previous year's taxable valuation of the county; and
revenues revenue, except district court grants, required by law to be deposited in the district court fund for the
previous fiscal year.
(4) Eligible court expenditures for grant purposes include all costs of the county associated with the operation and maintenance of the district court, from whatever fund paid, except costs for building and capital items and library maintenance, replacement, and acquisition.
(5) The supreme court administrator shall notify each eligible county as soon as possible of the state's intention to award a grant to that county and the amount of the award.
(6) The grant received by the county must be placed in the district court fund.
(7) If an audit conducted pursuant to 2-7-503 discloses that the recipient received a grant in excess of the amount for which it was eligible, the recipient shall repay the excess to the state. The supreme court administrator shall redistribute any repaid excess amounts to the other counties that received grants from the appropriation from which the overpayment was made, on the same basis as the original awards. A county is not eligible for a district court grant if it owes the state a refund of a prior year's overpayment.
(8) The supreme court administrator shall distribute any funds remaining, after expenses provided for in 3-5-901 are funded and after the distribution of state grants to the governing body of a county for the district courts for assistance as provided in this section, to all counties based on the vehicle count of each county as determined by the supreme court administrator based on collections of the vehicle registration fee in each county under 61-3-504, 61-3-521, and 61-3-537.
(8)(9) The supreme court administrator, in consultation with the supreme court, shall prescribe rules and forms
necessary to effectively administer this section. The administrator may require a county to provide any information
considered necessary for the administration of the program."
- END -
Latest Version of HB 246 (HB0246.01)
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