By John DiMaio
TRENTON, N.J. – The Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee on Monday released Assemblyman John DiMaio’s bill that will give municipalities one-third of fine money generated by State Police motor vehicle summonses issued within their borders.
Current law stipulates that money collected from State Police tickets go to the state’s general fund. DiMaio’s bill (A959) would allow the state to keep two-thirds of that money. Municipalities could use their third to defray municipal court costs.
“Clearly, municipalities – and in turn taxpayers – in many towns without police departments get the short end of the equation and are often on the hook for costs that they cannot recover, such as court costs. But tickets are issued for offenses like drunk, distracted, or reckless driving, and speeding, behaviors that jeopardize everyone,” DiMaio (R-Warren) said. “Municipalities where those violations, where residents’ lives and properties were possibly put at risk, should see some recompense. Towns that don’t have their own police department shouldn’t lose out on that financial justice.”
On average, $400 million in tickets from all state and local law enforcement agencies are issued annually. The latest data from the State Police Traffic Stop Dashboard shows 109,421 summonses were issued from January to May 2021. The amount of fines collected was not available.
About 100 of New Jersey’s 564 municipalities have small—or no—police departments and rely on full- or part-time State Police coverage.