Senate Passes Legislation to Address Funding for Full-Time District Attorneys

(HARRISBURG) – – State funding for full-time district attorneys will be addressed under legislation passed by the Senate of Pennsylvania, according to Senator John R. Gordner (R-27).  House Bill 1607 has been amended by the Senate to include the funding component, and Senator Gordner is urging his House colleagues to quickly pass the measure into law.

“In 2005, the General Assembly passed the full-time district attorney law, and further created the Judicial Enhancement Account in 2007 to meet the Commonwealth’s obligation to fund 65 percent of the full-time salaries,” said Senator Gordner.  “Unfortunately, the fees imposed upon those convicted of certain crimes have been inadequate to meet the funding obligation and Governor Rendell has never included any additional funding in his budget proposals.”

Under Senate provisions in House Bill 1607, surcharges will continue to be imposed upon those convicted of certain crimes, and additional charges will be added to augment the Judicial Enhancement Account.  These will include charges on initial filings with the state appellate courts, civil actions filed in common pleas courts, and filings before magisterial district judges, with the exception of summary traffic offenses.

The new surcharges are expected to raise $6.5 million annually to meet the Commonwealth’s obligation to fund full-time salaries.  Additionally, the new fees will allow the Commonwealth to reimburse counties for expenses incurred for full-time salaries since the law went into effect.

“I have been a strong proponent of addressing this issue,” said Senator Gordner.  “We have put many counties, especially some of the smaller counties, in a precarious position by not meeting our obligation to  fund these positions,” Senator Gordner concluded.