KAILUA-KONA — A bill to boost funding for a specialized unit targeted for repeat offenders passed its first committee last week.
A joint committee of the Judiciary and Public Safety, Intergovernmental Military Affairs heard the bill Friday. Each committee voted unanimously to pass the bill without amendments.
It next needs to secure a hearing before the Senate Committee on Ways and Means no later than Friday to remain alive.
The bill would appropriate from the general fund $365,000 in fiscal years 2019-20 and 2020-21 for the Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office Career Criminal Unit. The unit targets repeat offenders who cause the most trouble in the community.
A similar bill in the House, HB 53, which also seeks $365,000 in fiscal years 2019-20 and 2020-21 for the county career criminal unit is starting to move. The measure, co-introduced/sponsored by all seven Big Island House legislators, is set to be heard by the House Judiciary Committee today.
The Career Criminal Unit was established by the Legislature in every county throughout the state 40 years ago.
The prosecutor’s office is already receiving $324,512 for the 2019-20 fiscal year from the state. Due to a 5 percent contingency restriction, the office will only be allowed to spend $308,286.