OFFICE OF FISCAL ANALYSIS

Legislative Office Building, Room 5200

Hartford, CT 06106 (860) 240-0200

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

sSB-650

AN ACT CONCERNING TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDERS.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 16 $

FY 17 $

Dept. of Administrative Services

GF - Cost

Up to 500,000

None

Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection

GF - Cost

See Below

See Below

Judicial Dept.

GF - Savings

Approximately 12,000

Approximately 12,000

Judicial Dept.

GF - Cost

Approximately 100,000

Approximately 100,000

Correction, Dept.; Judicial Dept. (Probation)

GF - Potential Cost

See Below

See Below

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact:

Municipalities

Effect

FY 16 $

FY 17 $

Various Municipalities

STATE MANDATE - Cost

See Below

See Below

Explanation

Section 1 of the bill allows state marshals access to the Judicial Department's service tracking system. This provision conforms statute with current practice and does not result in a fiscal impact.

Section 2 requires State Marshall Commission (SMC) to adopt regulations for (1) the provision of consistent and reliable access to a state marshal for persons applying for a restraining order under section 46b-15; (2) the provision of services to persons with limited English proficiency; (3) the provision of services to persons who are deaf or hearing impaired; and (4) service of process that is a photographic copy, micrographic copy or other electronic image of an original document that clearly and accurately copies such original document.

Currently, SMC staff consists of two full-time employees. SMC staff does not have the expertise required to develop such regulations. It is estimated the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) would have to retain consultants, at a cost of up to $275,000 to research and draft such regulations.

Section 3 results in a potential cost to towns and potential savings to the Judicial Department. It requires presiding law enforcement agencies to deliver ex parte orders whenever the application indicates that the respondent possesses firearms, ammunition, or a permit to do so. The bill specifies that the Judicial Department is not required to reimburse the police officer for the cost of service, as is done when service is completed by a state marshal. Approximately 300 ex parte civil restraining orders served in FY 14 involved respondents with a firearm. It is anticipated that police departments will incur travel and administrative expenses to serve these orders. The level of such costs is dependent upon the number of orders delivered and the travel time and mileage required to do so. The bill results in savings of approximately $12,000 to the Judicial Department (300 orders with a reimbursement of $40/order). The bill also makes various changes to civil restraining order application forms and hearing dates and does not result in a fiscal impact.

Section 4 is estimated to result in a cost of up to $100,000 annually to the Judicial Department for additional mileage reimbursement for service of civil restraining and protective orders.

Section 5 requires the chief court administrator, where feasible, to allocate space for a meeting between a state marshal and a restraining order applicant. Currently, state marshals meet with applicants in the Court Service Centers, found in most courthouses. To the extent that this area of the courthouse is sufficient to meet this provision of the bill, this section does not result in a fiscal impact.

Section 6 requires the Judicial Department to collect data on civil restraining and protection orders. It is anticipated that the agency can accommodate these changes without additional resources.

Section 7 of the bill requires SMC to study the Judicial Branch's “marshal of the day” practice. It also requires the study to include an examination of the wait times for applicants and whether such practice promotes efficient and timely service of restraining and protective orders. SMC has neither the resources nor the expertise to conduct such a study. It is anticipated DAS would need to contract out with a firm that would be able to deploy field staff to all courthouses in the state to collect data on when orders are issued, served and why they are not served. It is estimated such data collection and analysis would cost DAS up to $225,000.

Section 8 expands the crime of criminal possession of a firearm, ammunition, electronic defense weapon, pistol, or revolver, which carries with it a mandatory minimum two year sentence. There are currently 288 offenders incarcerated for criminal possession. In FY 14, there were a total of 875 violations and 504 resulted in conviction or plea bargain. To the extent that offenders are prosecuted for new or expanded offenses under this bill, potential costs for probation and supervision in the community or incarceration would result.  On average, it costs the agency $6,050 (including benefits) to supervise an inmate in the community as opposed to $50,690 (including benefits) to incarcerate an offender. Criminal possession also carries with it a mandatory fine of $5,000, which the court can reduce if it finds sufficient reason. In FY 14, a total of $5,985 in fine revenue was collected. To the extent that the expanded offenses result in additional fines collected, the bill also results in potential revenue gain.

Sections 11-15 do not result in a fiscal impact to the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection or the municipalities.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to inflation.

Sources:

Department of Correction Summary of Offenders by Controling Offense, as of 1/1/2015

 

Judicial Department Offenses and Revenue Database