OFFICE OF FISCAL ANALYSIS

Legislative Office Building, Room 5200

Hartford, CT 06106 (860) 240-0200

http: //www.cga.ct.gov/ofa

sSB-1438

AN ACT CONCERNING NOTICE OF CERTAIN PROBATE COURT HEARINGS AND THE FILING OF CERTAIN REPORTS.

AMENDMENT

LCO No.: 8839

File Copy No.: 624

House Calendar No.: 701

Senate Calendar No.: 517

OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 08 $

FY 09 $

Probate Court

PCAF - See Below

See Below

See Below

Note: PCAF=Probate Court Administration Fund

Municipal Impact:

Municipalities

Effect

FY 08 $

FY 09 $

Various Municipalities

Savings

120, 000

160, 000

Explanation

The amendment alters how changes in probate court operations may be imposed. The impact of this change on the Probate Court Administration Fund (PCAF) and on the probate system is indeterminate. Additionally, the amendment mandates minimum standards on the operational hours of all probate courts and creates special probate judge assignments. These two provisions may result in a significant cost to the PCAF. Finally, the amendment may result in a savings to municipalities, for reasons identified below. A section by section impact appears below.

Section 501 may result in a savings to municipalities in certain probate court districts, associated with increased use of digital document storage and a corresponding reduction in microfilm. It is estimated that the towns pay approximately $250, 000 annually for microfilming. The cost for digital scanning and electronic storage1 is estimated to cost the towns approximately $90, 000 annually, resulting in a net savings of $160, 000 ($120, 000 in FY 08 due to the effective date of the amendment) .

Sections 502 and 506-508 expand the Probate Court Administrator's (PCA) authority to issue regulations subject to approval by the General Assembly. To the extent that the Probate Court Administrator promulgates regulations that impact budgetary items such as court personnel and salaries, a significant fiscal impact could occur, but cannot be estimated in advance.

Section 503 allows for the recovery of expenses from a probate court whose non-compliance results in enforcement action. The extent to which this may occur is unknown at this time.

Section 504 creates special assignment probate judges. The creation of additional probate judges will result in a cost to the PCAF. Since the positions are new, and are appointed by the Supreme Court's Chief Justice, it is unknown how many additional positions and their associated costs will result.

Section 505 requires the probate courts to be open to the public at least 20 hours per week, and authorizes the PCA to modify the requirements. Currently, there are 30 courts open less than 20 hours per week. The cost of keeping the additional 30 courts in operation for at least 20 hours per week may result in a significant cost to the PCAF.

Section 509 makes technical changes that are not anticipated to result in a fiscal impact.

The preceding Fiscal Impact statement is prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for the purposes of information, summarization and explanation and does not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose.

1 Recurring costs such as licenses and internet service will be paid for by the towns.