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A00909 Summary:

Amd 1197, 1803, 1809-c & 1809-e, V & T L; add 89-i, St Fin L
Relates to the distribution of certain mandatory surcharges imposed for alcohol-related traffic convictions; establishes an impaired driving safety fund.
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A00909 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
SPONSOR: Lupardo
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to distribution of certain mandatory surcharges imposed for alcohol-related traffic convictions; and to amend the state finance law, in relation to establishing an impaired driving safety fund   PURPOSE: The purpose of this legislation is to provide for the necessary direc- tion and adequate funding for the successful implementation of the ignition interlock provisions of Chapter 496 of the Laws of 2009 ("Leandra's Law") and the STOP- DWI Program. The bill creates the Impaired Driving Safety Fund which would collect fines from DWI offenses and fund the Office of Probation ignition interlock program and distrib- ute funds to county STOP-DWI programs.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1: Amends subdivision 1 of Section 1197 vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) to direct fines imposed for the traffic offenses of "driving outside the terms of a conditional license" and "circumventing a required ignition interlock device" to the STOP-DWI Program in the coun- ty of the violation - making these offenses consistent with all other alcohol-related provisions of the law. Section 2: Amends subdivision 5 of VTL Section 1197 to add "implementa- tion of the ignition interlock program as set forth in VTL § 1198" to the functions and funding responsibilities of the County STOP-DWI coor- dinator and directs fines collected. Section 3:Subdivisions 1 and 2 of section 1809-c of the VTL is amended to direct that mandatory surcharges be imposed for the alcohol related traffic offenses listed including "driving outside the terms of a condi- tional license" and "circumventing a required ignition interlock device" and be redirected to the Impaired Interlock Safety Fund beginning April 1, 2019. Amends VTL § 1809-c to direct that mandatory surcharges imposed and collected under this provision be directed to the STOP-DWI Program in the county where the offense occurred. Section 4: Paragraph b of subdivision 1 and subdivision 2 of Section 1309-e of the VTL is amended to direct that mandatory surcharges imposed and collected under this provision be directed Impaired Driving Safety Fund. Section 5: The State Finance law is amended by adding a new section 89-i which creates the Impaired Driving Safety Fund and allows the fines collected to be deposited and directed to programs. Section 6: Effective date   JUSTIFICATION: This bill addresses two immediate and very real concerns that threaten the very core of New York's strategy to reduce the incidence of alcohol and other drug-related traffic crashes. 1.Ignition Interlock Monitoring A pertinent provision of Chapter 496 of the Laws of 2009, ("Leandra's Law") requires that the sentence for all persons convicted of driving while intoxicated include a period of probation or conditional discharge, a condition of which shall include the installation of an ignition interlock device on all vehicles owned or operated by such person for not less than six months. As a result, thousands of offenders are subject to this requirement each year. Pursuant to the procedures promulgated by the Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives, counties have developed programs to implement the massive and recurring requirements associated with compli- ance, tracking and monitoring of this offender population. In support of the Leandra's Law initiative, the National Highway Traffic Safety Admin- istration provided New York with grant money in the amount of $3M annu- ally as "start-up" money to pay for the local governments' cost of moni- toring offenders. Recently NHTSA began to phase out the grant by reducing it by $1.8M, and, by all indications, the federal money will not be forthcoming in 2017 and beyond. This leaves New York scrambling to find $3M to cover the cost of the necessary monitoring of the target- ed offender population. 2.STOP-DWI Program When the historic STOP-DWI Program was first enacted by statute in 1981 the fines for alcohol-related driving offenses were shifted to the coun- ties where the convictions occurred, provided each such county establish an office (and designate a coordinator) dedicated exclusively to reduc- ing the incidence of alcohol and other drug-related crashes, injuries and fatalities. As a result, New York developed 58 self-sufficient programs (NYC has a single program) that, within 10 years had collec- tively reduced the likelihood of being involved in an alcohol-related crash by 69%. These incredible achievements were funded exclusively by the fines from convicted DWI and DWAI offenders and so impressed federal lawmakers that Congress provided incentive money to other states to adopt the New York model. Commencing in 1983 a mandatory surcharge was imposed on all criminal and traffic convictions and the money therefrom was dedicated to a special fund under the control of the Division of Criminal Justice Services. Then, in 2003 and 2008 respectively, surcharges totaling $195 were imposed on all persons convicted of drunk driving and the money was used for general budget relief - not only having no regard for sound criminal justice policy - but actually having the unintended consequence of imperiling the financial stability of the county STOP-DWI programs. Today, the three surcharges can total as much as $495. As a result, two things are happening: first - because of the financial burden associated with the mandatory surcharges, judges are imposing the minimum fines, regardless of circumstances and in contradiction of long-standing crimi- nal justice policy that the punishment fit the parameters of the crimi- nal behavior; and second, because surcharges are collected first, when an offender pays over time, if he or she stops paying, it is the fine that is not collected. To date, tens of millions of dollars in unpaid fines have been identified. It follows, therefore, that the imposition and collection of these surcharges has had a financially deleterious impact on the fiscal viability of many of the programs. The data certainly bears this out. 3.Joint Solution This bill would address both issues. First, it would establish the Impaired Driving Safety Fund in the State Finance Law. Second, it would sweep the two surcharges that were imposed for budget relief into the Fund. Finally, the money in the fund would be administered by the Gover- nor's Traffic Safety Committee as follows: the first $3M would be dedi- cated to funding the ignition interlock monitoring (replacing the expired NHTSA grant); and the remainder would be administered to the county STOP-DWI programs in the form of grants in the same manner that GTSC currently distributes federal highway safety grants. The legislation also adds the fines collected for the crimes of circum- vention of an interlock device and traffic infractions with a condi- tional license in to the Impaired Driving Safety Fund. Through this one collective initiative, two pillars of New York's national model for drunk driving enforcement - the STOP-DWI Program and "Leandra's Law" are secured with all funding derived from offenders and not taxpayers.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: Formerly A-3432B of 2016, died in Assembly Transportation.   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Approximately $6.8M will be redirected from the General Fund to the Impaired Driving Safety Fund established in § 89-i of the State Finance Law. The legislation provides for a phase-in which would take effect FY 2019-20 when 50% of the surcharge money would remain in the General Fund and the remainder would accrue to the credit of the Impaired Diving Safety Fund. In FY 2020-2021, the transfer to the special fund would be complete. Accordingly, there is no fiscal impact on the FY 2018-2019 fiscal plan.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.
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