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  Regular-General Government   #   29.    
Board of Supervisors Financial Services  
Meeting Date: 11/03/2020  
Brief Title:    AB1869 Criminal Justice Fees
From: Chad Rinde, Chief Financial Officer, Department of Financial Services
Staff Contact: Edward Burnham, Treasury & Revenues, Department of Financial Services, x8212

Subject
Receive update on impacts of Assembly Bill 1869 Legislation; authorize Probation, Public Defender, Sheriff, and Financial Services to cease charging and collection of repealed fees; and authorize Financial Services to discharge outstanding debts related to these specified Criminal Justice Fees. (General fund impact $381,199) (Rinde/Burnham)
Recommended Action
  1. Receive and accept presentation on AB1869 legislation;
     
  2. Authorize Financial Services, Probation, Public Defender, and Sheriff to cease charging and collection of fees contained in AB1869 effective November 3, 2020;
     
  3. Direct Financial Services to repeal fees formally as part of the December, 2020 Master fee update process; and
     
  4. Direct Financial Services to discharge accountability for fees repealed by AB1869 starting November 3, 2020 and return to the Board with a report of total completed discharges. 
Strategic Plan Goal(s)
Thriving Residents
Safe Communities
Reason for Recommended Action/Background
AB1869 Background
On September 18, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1869 into law. This bill repeals the authority of Counties through 23 different code provisions which allow for the charging and collection of a variety of Criminal Justice fees in the Probation, Public Defender and Sheriff offices. This is part of a broader trend in the state of California of legislative efforts to reduce or eliminate criminal justice fees which rely on academic studies demonstrating that these fees can be counter-productive and disproportionately affect lower-income households. 

This repeal in AB1869 was set in law to become effective on July 1, 2021 and will also at that time require the County to discharge uncollected fees associated with these same fee provisions. AB1869 does not  impact Victim Restitution that is owed by defendants and ordered by the Court. 

A list of fees that will be repealed (and are currently charged by Yolo County) are listed below:
 
Department Fee Name Code Sections Old Fee Amount New Fee 
Public Defender Adult Registration Fee PC987.5 $50 $0
Public Defender Legal Defense - Adult Specialty Court PC987.8 $125 $0
Public Defender Legal Services, Adult, Post Judgment PC987.8 $125 $0
Public Defender Legal Services, Adult Felony, settle after Preliminary Hearing PC987.8 $350 $0
Public Defender Legal Services, Adult Felony, settle before Preliminary Hearing PC987.8 $175 $0
Public Defender Legal Services, Adult Misdemeanor, settle after Trial Conference PC987.8 $275 $0
Public Defender Legal Services, Adult Misdemeanor, settle before Trial Conference PC987.8 $150 $0
Probation Adult Probation Supervision Fee PC1203.1b $30 per month $0
Probation Global Positioning System Fee PC1203.016 $18 per day $0
Probation Intercounty Compact Transfers PC1203.1b $243 each $0
Probation Interstate Compact Transfers PC1203.1b $243 each $0
Probation Pre-Sentence Investigation Reports PC1203.1b $794 per report $0
Probation Work program participation fee PC4024.3, PC1208.2 $340 $0
Sheriff Electronic Surveillance program (15 days or less to serve) PC1208.2 $175 $0
Sheriff Electronic Surveillance program (16 days or more) PC1208.2 $18 per day $0
Sheriff Electronic Surveillance Program Application PC1208.2 $70 per application $0
Sheriff Jail Booking Fee GC29550 $154.48 per arrestee $0
Sheriff Sheriff Working Inmate Program (SWIP) Application PC1208.2 $45 per application $0

Based on the legislation, the County could continue to charge these fees to defendants, probationers, or arrestees until June 30, 2021 but then at that time would no longer have the authority to collect and be required to discharge past obligations from these fees. However, based on discussion with the Sheriff, Probation Chief, Public Defender, and Chief Financial Officer, an accelerated implementation may be prudent for a variety of reasons as explained below. 
  • Low collection rate - Currently, depending on the fee, collection rates are ordinarily in the 10-20% range and could be lower than usual as this law will require any uncollected amounts to be discharged on July 1, 2021. 
  • Staff transition - The time between now and July 1, 2021 could be spent with continuing to assess and attempt to collect fees or in an effort to facilitate change to systems and staff duties who formerly worked on fee collection to more value added activities. It seems more sensible to take the later approach and begin this transition earlier. 
  • Public benefit - There would likely be a benefit to citizens in the County being proactive in implementing the legislation and relieving them of the burden of these criminal justice fees in line with the spirit of AB1869.  
Fiscal Analysis
Though there are benefits to early implementation of this bill, there is also a financial cost associated with it. In AB1869, it provided for beginning in fiscal year 2021-22, a backfill statewide of $65 million of revenue impacts to Counties which may mitigate the ongoing impact. However, there is currently not a prescribed method for the apportionment of that backfill. An early implementation in fiscal year 2020-21 would mean approximately 8 months of lower fee collection for the County. Based on prior year collections, this impact is estimated to be approximately: 
 
Department FY2020-21 Impact
Financial Services $104,333
Probation $220,200
Public Defender $6,666
Sheriff $50,000
Total $381,199

The fiscal impact of this reduction would be requested to be managed in each departments’ respective budget. Recognizing that departments have already made reductions associated with the impacts of COVID-19, should a department not be able to manage the revenue reduction within their budget, County Financial Services staff would look at 3rd or 4th quarter budget monitoring to recommend appropriating a portion of the Public Safety Contingency to support any shortfall that materializes directly related to this item. 

Discharge of Accountability
County staff have not yet had an opportunity to perform or assemble a full analysis of delinquent accounts that may be eligible for discharge. However, based on summary reporting information available currently, this amount is expected to be in the range of $6-8 million. 

Recommendation
County staff are thus recommending that the Board take the following actions should they be supportive of an early implementation of AB1869. Should the Board not accept staff’s recommendation, the implementation would occur still by July 1, 2021 as required by law.
 
1) Authorize Financial Services, Probation, Public Defender, and Sheriff to cease charging and collection of fees contained in AB1869 effective November 3, 2020.
2) Direct Financial Services to formally repeal fees as part of the December, 2020 Master fee update process.
3) Direct Financial Services to discharge accountability for fees repealed by AB1869 starting November 3, 2020 and return to the Board with a summary report of completed discharges. 
Collaborations (including Board advisory groups and external partner agencies)
The Department of Financial Services collaborated with the Probation, Public Defender, Sheriff and County Administrator's Office on this item. 
Competitive Bid Process
Not applicable. 

Fiscal Information
Fiscal impact (see budgetary detail below)
Fiscal Impact of this Expenditure
Total cost of recommended action
Amount budgeted for expenditure
Additional expenditure authority needed $0
On-going commitment (annual cost)
Source of Funds for this Expenditure
General Fund $381,199
Further explanation as needed
The financial impact for 2020-21 is estimated to be $381,199. 

AB1869 provided for beginning in fiscal year 2021-22, a backfill statewide of $65 million of revenue impacts to Counties which may mitigate the ongoing impact. However, there is currently not a prescribed method for the apportionment of that backfill. 
Attachments
Att. A. AB1869 Implementation Guide
Att. B. Presentation

Form Review
Inbox Reviewed By Date
Chad Rinde Chad Rinde 10/26/2020 10:26 AM
Financial Services (Originator) Chad Rinde 10/26/2020 10:27 AM
County Counsel Chad Rinde 10/26/2020 12:23 PM
Financial Services (Originator) Chad Rinde 10/26/2020 12:25 PM
Chad Rinde Chad Rinde 10/26/2020 12:26 PM
County Counsel Chad Rinde 10/27/2020 10:53 AM
Financial Services (Originator) Chad Rinde 10/27/2020 10:54 AM
Chad Rinde Chad Rinde 10/27/2020 10:54 AM
County Counsel Phil Pogledich 10/28/2020 09:37 AM
Carolyn Jhajj Carolyn Jhajj 10/28/2020 10:12 AM
Form Started By: Chad Rinde Started On: 10/05/2020 08:39 AM
Final Approval Date: 10/28/2020
Level double AA conformance,
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