Budget decreases or economic relief would come if the bill or bills focusing on the criminal and traffic code incarnation penalties were passed. While it is important for individuals to be held accountable for their actions, studies have shown that incarnation of non-violent offenders is not always the correct form of penalty.
These studies show that when an offending individual is sent to jail more economic harm is done to his/her family and society than when he/she is given an alternative sentence, such as day report or home confinement. Removing the mandatory incarnation penalty for certain non-violent offenders will save taxpayers/county/state government thousands of dollars in monthly incarnation fees. Alternative sentencing will also help the offender’s family by enabling the offending party to keep his/her job and continue to provide financial support to his/her family.
Another proposed bill, provides for claims against the State for $2,500 or less to be paid using a streamlined Notice process. This system would enable individuals who have pot hole claims and other similar claims to obtain their funds through use of the Notice process instead of waiting for the Legislature to pass a bill directing payment of each specific claim.
How many of these proposed bills make it though committee and see the light of day depends on the chairman/chairwoman of each committee it passes through. There are many individuals who believe that with the change in the Chairperson of House Judiciary, from Delegate Webster, who resigned and is now a sitting circuit judge, to Delegate Miley, more conservative ideas will be considered by the House Judiciary in the future.
Delegate Patti E. Schoen can be reached at 304-340-3141 or 304-415-0411, or by e-mail at pschoen@mail,wvnet.edu. For more information please check out www.pattischoen.us and www.legis.state.wv.us.