Governor Signs Court Costs and Filing Fees Legislation
On December 20, the governor signed a bill that assists in the administration of costs and fines owed to courts.
House Bill 247 will allow clerks of court to “write off” uncollectible debt after five years; allow trial courts to suspend the imposition or payment of court costs after the court has imposed a sentence (in response to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling State v. Clevenger); and provide that court costs be assessed on each case as defined by the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio.
These legislative changes and previously enacted House Bill 5 resulted from 11 recommendations of the legislative/judicial Joint Committee to Study Court Costs and Filing Fees in 2008.
While the recommendations from the joint committee targeted specific issues, the committee also found definitional confusion with court costs and fees in the Ohio Revised Code. With input from the Supreme Court, the committee urged the General Assembly to implement standard definitions to avoid future confusion between “costs” and “fees.”
H.B. 247 also included other amendments unrelated to the original provisions that change the term “chief justice of the court of appeals” to “chief judge” and provisions related to when the Supreme Court must meet in session.