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Revamped Juvenile Detention Costs Gets Senate OK

JackLatvala.jpg
The Florida Channel
Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater.

A Senate committee Thursday approved a plan aimed at ending years of legal battles between the state and counties about juvenile-detention costs. Lobbyists for numerous counties indicated support for the plan (SB 1322) before it was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The bill ultimately would lead to the state and counties splitting juvenile detention costs evenly and would change the methodology for determining the amounts owed by counties. Sponsor Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, said the bill could take "guesswork" out of the process.

Counties and the state Department of Juvenile Justice have battled repeatedly in court in recent years about how to divide detention costs, with counties arguing that the state is trying to push too many costs onto local taxpayers.

After a legislative attempt failed in 2014 to resolve the issue, Gov. Rick Scott and the Department of Juvenile Justice settled on a 57-43 percent formula, Counties pick up the larger portion, which they say is too high.

Latvala's bill is expected to go before the Senate Rules Committee on Monday, but it remains unclear whether the House will consider the changes.