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Farry Crime-Lab Bill Enables Counties to Recover Fees; Save Taxpayer Dollars

HARRISBURG – The House Judiciary Committee today advanced legislation aimed at leveling the playing field by giving all counties with crime labs access to much-needed funding to support their operations, said Rep. Frank Farry (R-Bucks), author of the measure.

House Bill 1274 would allow any county that operates its own criminal laboratory to receive the money generated by a fee imposed on defendants within that county.

“Under current law, certain counties in Pennsylvania doing criminal lab work are not receiving their fair share of reimbursement from the user fees collected in criminal cases,” said Farry. “These labs are working to keep pace with the latest testing procedures and keep our local law enforcement ahead of the game, and unfortunately, the law-abiding taxpayers have to foot the bill.”

Specifically, 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.

“By creating a level playing field for all counties with crime labs, we will be ensuring the perpetrators of the crimes foot the bill, not the taxpayers,” said Farry.

Farry also noted that if his bill becomes law, Bucks County, a 2A Class County that operates a county crime lab, could receive hundreds of thousands in crime lab fees.

House Bill 1274 now awaits consideration by the full House.

Representative Frank Farry
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact:  Abbey Fosnot
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