Proposed legislative changes to court security funding, practices

With legislation recently introduced in the U.S. Senate to provide federal assistance to state court security, several state legislatures are grappling with the same subject, in particular who should provide court security and how should it be paid for? Bills introduced already in 2012 include:

Hawaii HB 493 Transfers responsibility for judiciary security personnel from department of public safety to newly created office of the sheriff within the department of the attorney general. Carried over from 2011 session.

Minnesota HB 1607 Permits State Patrol to provide security and protection to Supreme Court justices for a limited period and within the limits of existing resources, in response to a credible threat on the individual’s life or safety. Carried over from 2011 session.

Minnesota HB 2000 Authorizes county boards to set and impose court security fees in civil and criminal matters for court security equipment and personnel. In House Judiciary Policy and Finance Committee.

Minnesota SB 1283 Permits State Patrol to provide security and protection to Supreme Court justices for a limited period and within the limits of existing resources, in response to a credible threat on the individual’s life or safety. Carried over from 2011 session.

Missouri HB 1416 For St. Louis County Courthouse only, exempts any licensed attorney from court security screening measures. In House (no committee).

New Jersey SB 264 Provides that while each county must provide “suitable courtrooms”, it is the county governing body that shall have final authority to determine expenditures for “suitably” securing courtrooms. In Senate Judiciary Committee.

New Jersey SB 652 Creates Court Security Enhancement Fund financed by increase of $5 to most court fees, assessments and penalties, to provide a continuous source of funding to assist counties and municipalities in providing and maintaining safe and secure court facilities. In Senate Judiciary Committee.

New York AB 3385 Provides a $5 fee to cover security costs in justice courts. Carried over from 2011 session.

New York AB 7325 Allows for a justice court to use money collected through a $10 surcharge to provide for additional security equipment and personnel. Carried over from 2011 session.

New York SB 5177 Allows for a justice court to use money collected through a $10 surcharge to provide for additional security equipment and personnel. Carried over from 2011 session.

Oklahoma SB 626 Repeals requirement that counties provide the courts attendants, fuel, lights and stationery, electricity, water, other utilities, toilet facilities and janitorial service, suitable and sufficient for the transaction of court business in such facilities. Provides county shall not be responsible for providing security, telephone, and utility service for the county courthouse or any annex thereto without an agreement with the Administrative Director of the Courts providing that the county will be reimbursed from the court fund for such services. Carried over from 2011 session.

Oregon HB 4163 Changes title of “court security officer” to “judicial security marshal” and “court security personnel” to “judicial security personnel.” Requires Department of Public Safety Standards and Training to certify individual members of judicial security personnel upon request of Security and Emergency Preparedness Office of Judicial Department, at office’s expense. In House Judiciary Committee.

Tennessee HB 1801 Clarifies that deputy sheriffs assigned to courthouse security are not required to be certified by the state’s peace officer standards and training commission but are not required to be. Carried over from 2011 session.

Tennessee SB 1755 Clarifies that deputy sheriffs assigned to courthouse security are not required to be certified by the state’s peace officer standards and training commission but are not required to be. Carried over from 2011 session.

Virginia HB 683 Increases from $10 to $15 the maximum sum that may be assessed as part of the costs in each criminal or traffic case in district or circuit court in which the defendant is convicted of a violation of any statute or ordinance, to be used to pay for courthouse and courtroom security. Tabled in House Courts of Justice, Civil Subcommittee 1/18/12.