VCC Dismisses Juvenile Justice Lawsuit Against State

By on March 9, 2016 in WNDB News

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UPDATE (03-07-16): The Volusia County Council votes unanimously to dismiss pending litigation against the state of Florida regarding juvenile justice funding. The vote was 6-0 with Doug Daniels the only member not present.

Earlier reporting below.

DeLand, FL – The Volusia County Council is holding an emergency meeting that could be key to resolving a long-running battle over who pays to keep juveniles behind bars before they are sentenced.

That meeting – announced on Friday by county staff – will take place at 11 AM Monday at the VCC chambers in DeLand. It’s open to the public.

VCC members are mulling over a proposal by Florida Senator Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) that would split detention costs 50-50 between the state Department of Juvenile Justice and county governments. Currently, counties are on the hook for 57% of such costs, with the state paying for the rest.

Volusia is among 22 counties in Florida – including Flagler – that’s sued the state over that formula, saying that it’s led to millions of dollars in overpayments and getting charged for unexpected costs by the state. It’s also the only one of the 22 counties that has yet to sign off on Latvala’s bill, which would simplify the process and require counties to pay actual costs for the prior year.

Should the VCC agree to dismiss its lawsuit on Monday – something it voted against doing during Thursday’s meeting – it will likely be passed by the Florida Senate. At that point, a similar bill filed by Latvala’s son – Representative Chris Latvala (R-Clearwater) – in the Florida House would need to pass before it can take effect.

If the VCC does not dismiss the lawsuit, the bill cannot move forward in the Senate.

A ruling earlier this month by the 1st District Court of Appeal supported the 22 counties’ claims for what could be more than $100 million in back pay as a result of using the old formula.

Copyright 2016 Southern Stone Communications.

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