Fiscal Note & Local Impact Statement

126 th General Assembly of Ohio

Ohio Legislative Service Commission

77 South High Street, 9th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215-6136 Phone: (614) 466-3615

Internet Web Site: http://www.lsc.state.oh.us/

BILL:

H.B. 150

DATE:

April 26, 2005

STATUS:

As Introduced

SPONSOR:

Rep. Gibbs

LOCAL IMPACT STATEMENT REQUIRED:

No

Minimal cost

 


CONTENTS:

Increases the penalty for violating the law governing junk yards and secondhand dealers

 

State Fiscal Highlights

 

        No direct fiscal effect on the state.

Local Fiscal Highlights

 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

FY 2005

FY 2006

FUTURE YEARS

Counties and Municipalities

Revenues

Potential minimal loss in revenue from fines

Potential minimal loss in revenue from fines

Potential minimal loss in revenue from fines

Expenditures

Potential minimal decrease due to more efficient enforcement

Potential minimal decrease due to more efficient enforcement

Potential minimal decrease due to more efficient enforcement

Note: For most local governments, the fiscal year is the calendar year. The school district fiscal year is July 1 through June 30.

 

        By modifying the penalty that offenders could face for the offenses relating to the junkyard and secondhand dealers law from a maximum fine of $1,000 to a maximum fine of $250 (the bill does strengthen the penalty in terms of possible incarceration, however), the bill creates the potential for a minimal but unlikely loss in fine revenues to be collected by county and municipal criminal justice systems statewide. This is because the number of offenders that could be affected by the bill in any given county or municipal criminal justice system annually appears likely to be relatively small.

        Because this bill increases penalties, it could increase local criminal justice expenditures related to investigating, prosecuting, adjudicating, defending (if the offender is indigent), and sanctioning offenders who have violated the junkyard and secondhand dealers law.

        Alternatively, the increased severity of the penalty that this bill proposes may result in more efficiently processed cases, which could also minimally lower the costs of enforcement for counties. Even so, the number of offenders affected would be small, resulting in only minimal county or municipal justice system savings.

        The adjudication costs or any new revenues as a result of this bill could vary widely depending on the size of the county and the number of junkyards and secondhand dealers doing business in those counties.

 


 

 

Detailed Fiscal Analysis

 

Background

 

Current law requires county sheriffs to enforce permits issued to secondhand dealers and junkyards through the inspection of these facilities and the response to complaints. Currently, a violation of Chapter 4737. of the Revised Code would result in a civil action and a fine between $25 and $1,000 (please see the LSC Bill Analysis for details regarding the provisions in the junkyard and secondhand dealers law). The Franklin County Municipal Court reported few, if any, charges related to the law governing junkyards and secondhand dealers in calendar year 2004. If this is true, then, statewide, it appears that a relatively small amount of individuals are charged under Chapter 4737 of the Revised Code.

 

State Fiscal Effects

 

This bill increases the penalty for violations of the law governing junkyards and secondhand dealers from a fine of not less than $25 nor more than $1,000 and the costs of prosecution to a misdemeanor of the fourth degree (maximum sentence of 30 days and maximum fine of $250). As the current penalty consisting of only a fine is still a court-ordered penalty, LSC presumes that the state court cost revenue given to the GRF ($15 per case) and the Victims of Crime Reparation Fund ($9 per case) would still apply in cases under existing law. As such, there appears to be no additional state court cost revenue that the state would receive to the GRF or the Victims of Crime Reparation Fund (Fund 402). Furthermore, there appear to be no potential incarceration costs for the state as persons incarcerated as a result of convictions on misdemeanors of state statutes are typically housed in county jails. In sum, there is no direct fiscal effect on the state as a result of this bill.

 

Local Fiscal Effects

 

By modifying the penalty that offenders could face for the offenses relating to the junkyard and secondhand dealers law from a maximum fine of $1,000 to a maximum fine of $250 (the bill does strengthen the penalty in terms of possible incarceration, however), the bill creates the potential for a minimal loss in fine revenues to be collected by county and municipal criminal justice systems statewide. As previously noted, it appears that the number of offenders that could be affected by the bill in any given county or municipal criminal justice system annually appears likely to be relatively small. Assuming that were true, then the revenue loss in any given county or municipality seems unlikely to exceed minimal annually.

As a result of the increasing the severity of the penalty for violating the junkyard and secondhand dealers law, this bill could also result in more efficient enforcement actions. If these cases can be prosecuted more efficiently as a result of the increased penalty this bill provides, the workload of county prosecutors from these types of cases may be reduced. Counties could also experience a reduction in expenditures related to enforcing Chapter 4737.'s provisions.

However, some persons, who may not have been successfully prosecuted under existing law, could be prosecuted and sanctioned, and some offenders who would likely have been prosecuted and sanctioned under existing law will face a potentially more serious punishment. These effects could in turn increase local criminal justice expenditures related to investigating, prosecuting, adjudicating, defending (if the offender is indigent), and sanctioning offenders who have violated the junkyard and secondhand dealers law. The number of offenders, however, that could be affected in any given county or municipal criminal justice system annually appears to be small.

Any individuals charged with a first offense would most likely not be incarcerated since fourth degree misdemeanors typically do not result in jail stays, according to LSC fiscal analysts familiar with Ohio's criminal justice system. However, the severity of the sentence in a case involving a misdemeanor is entirely up to the judge's discretion, as several factors, such as available bed space in the jail, severity of the crime, the presence of a repeat offender, and the judge's attitudes about the crime in question, can influence the decision.

Considering these factors, any increase in the annual operating costs of any given county or municipal criminal justice system seems unlikely to exceed minimal and could be offset or outweighed through efficiency gains in prosecuting and adjudicating these cases.

LSC fiscal staff: Jason Phillips, Budget Analyst

 

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