FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 29, 2011
Contact: Janice Mackey, (916) 491-3598
Governor Signs Legislation to Preserve Victim Compensation Fund for Years to Come
First legislation in nearly 20 years increases minimum fines for felonies and misdemeanors; helps protect crime victims with out-of-pocket medical expenses and more
Sacramento, CA – The California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) applauded Governor Brown’s signature today on Assembly Bill 898 (Alejo, D-Salinas). The new law, sponsored by the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA), increases the minimum amounts for restitution fines imposed on convicted defendants by 50 percent.
“This is a significant milestone for crime victims and their families,” said Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board, Executive Officer, Julie Nauman. “It creates a reliable revenue stream and helps keep in line with the rising cost of reimbursing victims for medical expenses, lost wages and more.”
For felony convictions, the new law increases the minimum fee (in yearly tiered amounts) from $200.00 to $300.00 by 2014. For misdemeanors, fees are increased from $100.00 to $150.00 by 2014. Collected monies will be deposited in CalVCP’s Restitution Fund, the primary funding source for the state’s victim compensation program.
“Protecting the California Victim Compensation Program is personal for me. As an attorney, the family of my former client used the Fund to pay his funeral expenses after he was tragically murdered,” said Assemblymember Luis A. Alejo. “I am proud to have authored this bill at a time when the Fund has been under considerable strain. Crime victims shouldn’t have to suffer twice if the Fund becomes insolvent due to inaction.”
The Restitution Fund receives its revenue from restitution fines and orders, diversion fees, penalties paid by criminal offenders as well as federal matching grants – not taxpayer dollars. As the payer of last resort, CalVCP covers crimes such as domestic violence, child abuse, sexual and physical assault, homicide, robbery, drunk driving, and vehicular manslaughter. Eligible services include medical and dental care, mental health services, income loss, funeral expenses, rehabilitation and relocation. In Fiscal Year 2010, the program paid out more than $97 million.
For more information about CalVCP, visit the CalVCP Website.