Some $1.5 million sitting in the state's victim reparation fund would be given to the Department of Public Safety under a bill approved by the House Thursday to pay for what one representative termed a "race track" that will be used to train law enforcement authorities to drive safely at high speeds, two new employees and new auditorium for state's police academy.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Byron Harward, R-Provo, will create a separate fund for public safety with the appropriation from surcharges collected on fines. Only $640,000 of the $4.2 million in surcharges collected has been awarded to crime victims, mainly because many aren't aware the 11/2-year-old program exists.Several lawmakers complained about sharing the money collected with the Department of Public Safety, as has been the practice, especially for the projects proposed. It was Rep. R. Lee Ellertson, R-Orem, who said he didn't like spending money on a "race track."
But Harward said the alternative would be to reduce the surcharge on fines, since all of the money wasn't being used for victims reparation. He said that could hurt the program in the future as it becomes more popular. This year, some $1 million is expected to be given to victims to compensate them for their losses. The bill also increases the maximum award to $50,000 and eases restrictions on compensation for child care and other expenses.
(BU) Pornographic materials can be used in the assessment or treatment of sex offenders under a bill approved by the House Thursday. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Beverly White, D-Tooele, also exempts the Department of Corrections and any treatment program under contract with the department from a state law prohibiting the showing of pornographic films.