Thursday, May 3, 2012

Community Service Legislation Heads to Governor’s Desk

Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, praised the final passage of Senate Bill 1875, a measure allowing counties in Oklahoma to create community service programs for convicted criminals, putting offenders in position to make a positive contribution to their communities while serving their sentence.
The legislation, authored in the House by Rep. Gary Banz, R-Midwest City, was named the “Safari McDoulett Community Service Act,” after an employee in the office of Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan.
Maughan’s SHINE program is the model for the bill, and McDoulett helped administer the program until her untimely death earlier this year. SHINE stands for Start Helping Impacted Neighborhoods Everywhere.
“Passage of this bill will ensure that Oklahoma County continues to enjoy the benefits of SHINE, but it also gives every county in the state the opportunity to create their own community service program,” Holt said.
Holt’s legislation gives counties the authority to create a community service program, and then authorizes judges to assess a fine on criminals they sentence to community service. That fine would then pay for supervisors and equipment so local governments can put those offenders to work removing graffiti, picking up litter or doing other projects to enhance the community.
The bill accomplishes this by authorizing a board of county commissioners to impose a community service program assessment where district, juvenile and municipal courts in such counties will levy a community service program assessment of $25 to $250 when the person is ordered to complete community service. The measure creates community service program assessment revolving funds in each county and provides that assessments will be forwarded monthly by the applicable court clerk to the revolving fund of the appropriate county
SB 1875 was approved unanimously in the Senate by a 41-0 vote and now heads to the governor’s desk for consideration.

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