By B.J. Reyes
Two proposals to have a greater portion of the fines and forfeitures collected from uncontested traffic infractions distributed to counties where the violations occur appear to have stalled in the Legislature.
Similar bills have been introduced in prior sessions by the Hawaii State Association of Counties, with little success. Counties have sought the funds to bolster law enforcement efforts, noting that county police forces are charged with enforcement of the laws, only to see the fines and forfeitures go to the state.
Transportation Chairman Ryan Yamane said he agrees with the intent of such proposals — to assist law enforcement — but there remains no mechanism at the county level to ensure that those funds would go toward the intended purpose. Funds would instead go to the counties’ general funds, with no guarantee that police departments would see a corresponding rise in their annual appropriations through the normal budgeting process.
Said Yamane (D, Mililani-Waipio-Waikele):
“Until some of those issues get worked out, I think there’s always going to be a concern about how the state gives any of the counties money.”