Fines and Fees Task Force Meeting Minutes October 11, 2017

Fines and Fees Task Force Meeting Six Month Update
October 11, 2017, 3:00-5:00pm 
City Hall, Room 278


Task Force Members Present:

Anne Stuhldreher (SF Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector), Dion Libutti (formerly with Community Housing Partnership), Scott Nelson (Coalition on Homelessness), Diana Hammons (MTA), Kendra Amick (Bay Area Legal Aid), Elisa Della-Piana (Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights), Lee Hudson (Adult Probation Department), Mark Culkins (Superior Court),

Members of the Public:

Alexandra Bastien (PolicyLink),  Asher Waite-Jones (Legal Services for Children), Christa Brown (SF Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector), Amanda Kahn Fried (SF Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector), Brittany Stonesifer (Legal Services for Prisoners with Children), Sophia Kittler (Supervisor Cohen’s Office), Caroline Beckett (Department of Child Support Services), Daisy Quan (Goldman School of Public Policy), Janice Li (San Francisco Bicycle Coalition), Jeremy Goldman (City Attorney’s Office), Jhumpa Bhattacharya (Insight Center), Paulina Gonzalez (California Reinvestment Coalition), Simone Hudson (Public Utilities Commission), Sneh Rao (Human Rights Commission), Susie Smith (Human Services Agency), Suzy Loftus (Sheriff’s Department), Bryan Sykes (UC Irvine), Nehama Rogozen (SF Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector), Ash Lynette (Supervisor Ronen’s Office), Chelsea Boilard (Supervisor Fewer’s Office), Jessica Hing (SF Public Utilities Commission), Diala Batshoun (SF Public Utilities Commission),

1. Welcome and Introductions

Treasurer José Cisneros shared opening remarks, thanked the task force members for their participation and commended the group for the progress made to date.

2. Agenda Review and Approval

Anne called the meeting to order at 3:06pm. She reviewed the agenda and background materials.

3. Group Agreements

Christa reiterated the Group Agreements as best practices for ways of being together during Task Force meetings. No one added to the living document.

4. Updates

  • State Legislative Update. Elisa Della Piana shared an update on statewide legislative reform, including the elimination of driver’s license suspensions, juvenile detention fees, and easing the burden of parking tickets.
  • Task Force Recommendation Updates
    • Transportation Recommendations:
      • Diana Hammons shared draft alternative fee structures for payment plans and community service that will go to the Board of Directors this winter. She shared progress already made by the MTA in ensuring individuals know about alternative payment options.
  • Quality of Life Citations
    • Anne Stuhldreher shared a pilot program that will allow individuals to clear their citations by receiving social services. She also shared citations are on track to decrease by 30% from last year’s numbers.
  • Child Support Debt
    • Carol Beckett shared an update on a pilot program they are launching with the Treasurer’s Office to help individuals pay off government-owed debt.
  • Money Bail
    • Suzy Loftus shared that they Sheriff is working toward a system that moves away from money bail. Successfully secured more funds for pretrial diversion in the last budget cycle, and looking into the San Francisco bail schedule.

5. Ability to Pay

Brittany Stonesifer shared that the Judicial Council promulgated new rules for courts to comply with as of May 1st, and Counties must have an ability to pay process. Counties are handling differently, and there has been advocacy for a more streamlined process.

Mark Culkins from the San Francisco Superior Court shared that they implemented their ability to pay process as of May 1st. They stopped suspending driver’s licenses back in 2015 despite potential revenue concerns and are working hard to implement reforms.

Christa Brown shared that departments across San Francisco have begun asking what options they have to verify ability to pay, and exploratory discussions have begun with HSA and other departments to determine what is feasible for departments to access.

6. Learning

  • San Francisco Fine and Fee Review
    • Raven Anderson from the Mayor’s Budget Office shared that they have sent out a survey to all CCSF departments on the fines and fees they issue, and have set a deadline for mid-November.
  • Criminal Justice Fines and Fees
    • Bryan Sykes shared that he has been researching monetary sanctions in California using a five year, mixed method project. He has found that people are often unaware of how much they owe, and that mandated court programs often require additional money.
    • Donna Mandel shared that they have begun to look at the itemized charges their clients bring into their clean slate program, often adding up to thousands of dollars.

7. What’s Next Steps

Christa shared that there will be another update meeting in the Spring of 2018. In the meantime, smaller working groups are convening on different topics, including transportation fines and fees and money bail.

8. Public Comment

The public participated throughout agenda item discussions.

9. Closing

The meeting was adjourned at 5:00pm