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House Approves Farry Bill to Enable Counties with Crime Labs to Receive Fair Share of Imposed Fees
12/13/2011
HARRISBURG—Legislation, sponsored by Rep. Frank Farry (R-Bucks), which is aimed at allowing counties that operate their own crime labs to receive their fair share of the costs incurred from people who are convicted of crimes in Pennsylvania was approved by the state House of Representatives today.

Currently, the criminal laboratory user fee that is imposed on criminals in certain cases is paid to first-and second-class counties that operate their own labs or into a special fund known as the Criminal Laboratory User Fee Fund. The latter is used solely for the operation and maintenance of the Pennsylvania State Police crime labs. In counties of the first and second class the fees offset the cost of operating labs in those counties. The law does not provide for counties of other classes that also operate their own crime labs.

“The passage of this bill is an important step that will save counties that operate their own crime labs thousands of taxpayer dollars,” said Farry. “House Bill 1769 will level the playing field by giving all counties with crime labs access to much-needed funding to support their operations. This shifts the burden of these costs away from the taxpayers to those who necessitate such expenses by committing a crime.”

House Bill 1769 would allow counties that operate their own criminal laboratory to receive the money generated by the criminal laboratory user fee imposed on defendants within that county.
In counties that do not operate their own criminal laboratory, the fees imposed on defendants will be deposited into the Criminal Laboratory User Fee Fund for use by the Pennsylvania State Police criminal laboratories.

“Bucks County is a 2A Class County that operates a county-run crime lab,” said Farry. “It has been estimated that the fees received by the county could be upward of $300,000.”

Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler said crime labs have a bigger job today with the influx of designer drugs on the market. He said Farry’s legislation would enable labs to keep pace with the latest testing procedures.

“We are seeing a growth in the number of individuals who are driving impaired or committing other crimes while under the influence of designer drugs,” said Heckler. “This means we constantly have to update our testing procedures, which is expensive. This bill appropriately ensures that those costs are borne by perpetrators of crime, not taxpayers.”

Farry’s bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

State Representative Frank Farry
142nd District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Abbey Fosnot
afosnot@pahousegop.com
717.260.6222
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