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House Approves Farry Bill to Enable Counties with Crime Labs to Receive Share of Fees

HARRISBURG—Legislation aimed at leveling the playing field by giving all counties with crime labs access to much-needed funding to support their operations was approved today by the state House of Representatives, said Rep. Frank Farry (R-Bucks), the prime sponsor of the bill.

“Currently, there are counties in Pennsylvania doing criminal lab work that are not receiving their share of compensation from the user fees collected in criminal cases,” said Farry. “By creating a level playing field for all counties with crime labs, we will be saving thousands of taxpayer dollars.”

Under current law, criminal laboratory user fees are collected and paid to first- and second-class counties that operate their own crime labs or deposited to 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. However, the law does not provide for counties of other classes that also operate their own crime labs to receive a share of the fees.

House Bill 1274 would allow counties that operate their own crime labs 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 used to support Pennsylvania State Police criminal laboratories.

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.”

House Bill 1274 now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Representative Frank Farry
142nd District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Abbey Fosnot
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