Commentary by Bob Karp
State Rep. Leo Biasiucci has introduced legislation to make community service an option to paying a cash fine for traffic tickets. Right now that isn't possible. This could be part of a larger conversation about reform of the state criminal justice code. Particularly where the judicial system ensnares the poor with fines and fees. The League of Arizona Cities and Towns doesn't like this idea, probably because these cash fines fund a host of law enforcement services. One drawback to allowing community service might be increased cost of administering community service. It take oversight, transportation etc. I'm not sure how many people who get tickets would opt for community service over fines, but there needs to be some option for those unable to pay a fine. As Rep. Biasicucci indicated - the courts should not be a "cash cow."
The federal government made a good first step forward on the federal codes by passing bipartisan legislation this year. I hope the state can also focus on changes to the state codes.