SB110 is a crime Prevention bill designed to support local crime prevention programs throughout the State of Montana. Crime prevention is best practiced at the local level in cities and rural communities. This Legislation would implement a surcharge to persons convicted of a criminal offense to help pay for the cost of crime prevention and would subsequently create sustainable crime prevention programs throughout Montana. Surcharges are created when an offense occurs. Crime Prevention can stop an offense from occurring through education, and training. Crime prevention funding can reduce the number of cases filed in Court and therefore reduce the number of surcharges the Magistrates have to collect.

What is the concept of the bill, what does it do?

A $10 dollar court surcharge on offenses would fund crime prevention activities. Funds collected from the surcharge would be deposited into a special revenue account managed by the Montana Board of Crime Control (MBCC). Funds would support the promotion of crime prevention activities and projects with local partnerships that are interested in preventing crime and making communities safer throughout the state of Montana.

Who would be eligible?

Nonprofit, private, community based organizations, units of local governments and Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Governments.

How can your program receive funding?

Funds generated by this surcharge will be deposited in a special revenue account and an Application/Request for Proposal (RFP) process will be developed by MBCC to fund programs across Montana.

Just some examples of groups/programs that could be eligible
for funding:

  • Drug Courts, DUI Courts and DUI Task Forces
  • Crime Stoppers
  • Drug/Alcohol Campaigns
  • Re-entry Programs
  • Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) Programs
  • Threat Assessments for Schools, Hospitals, Sporting Stadiums, etc.
  • Elder Abuse Prevention
  • Identity Theft
  • Suicide Prevention/Intervention
  • Child Abuse/Neglect Prevention Programs
  • Neighborhood Watch, Anti-Graffiti Programs
  • Weed and Seed Program and other Environmental Prevention Programs

Argument against this Legislation

There are too many surcharges already in the court system and individuals can’t afford to pay anything additional. This is just another form of taxation and it hurts local coffers by making it more difficult for courts to collect fees.

Counter Argument

The positives of having a stable funding stream for prevention programming outweigh concerns about too many surcharges. Individuals being compliant with court conditions, maintaining employment and do not abuse alcohol, use tobacco or illegal substances are able to pay. Think about it…. a six pack of beer and a pack of smokes costs ten bucks, which is coincidently the proposed surcharge. Having an individual who breaks the law and pays a small nominal surcharge is better than raising taxes on their victims to pay for prevention programming. This funding can reduce court backlog, reduce victimization and make communities safer, and that will benefit the courts in the long run.

For this to become a reality, it requires support from everyone. Contact your local Legislative Representative or Senator. Tell them that you are in favor of this bill. Help us keep our communities a safe place to live.

Please help us by contacting your local Legislator in support of blasting Senate Bill 110 off the table and bring it back up for a vote! The Legislators can be contacted at 444-4800. Below is the list of Judiciary Committee Senators and information on Senate Bill 110. Please forward this information to your contacts. The deadline Friday, February 22, 2013.

SENATE Judiciary Committee

Murphy, Terry (R – Ch) Cardwell, MT | 285-6937
Sales, Scott (R – V Ch) Bozeman, MT | 579-7994
Augare, Shannon (D) Browning, MT | 450-5686
Blewett, Anders (D), Great Falls, MT | 231-8618
Boulanger, Scott (R), Hamilton, MT | 360-1063
Brenden, John (R) Scobey, MT | Primary 783-8394 or 783-1063 1063
Driscoll, Robyn (D) Billings, MT | Primary 272-2403 or 534-4874
Fielder, Jennifer (R) Thompson Falls, MT | 210-5944
Jent, Larry (D) Bozeman, MT | Primary 587-0390 or 580-0502
Larsen, Cliff (D) Missoula, MT | 544-6263
Vincent, Chas (R) Libby, MT | Primary 293-1575 or 293-8821
Wittich, Art (R) Bozeman, MT | 599-9836

“Crime prevention works. It is cheaper, safer, and healthier for communities to prevent crime than to have to treat its victims, deal with its perpetrators, and lose civic health and productivity. But the responsibility of crime prevention doesn’t fall on one person – it’s everyone’s business” – National Crime Prevention Council.