HARRISBURG, March 1, 2011 – A bill designed to boost State Police training efforts while creating a fairer funding system passed a key Senate committee today, said state Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione.

Senate Bill 237 will redirect millions of dollars collected in fines toward cadet training efforts, while municipalities that provide less than 40 hours of local police coverage would lose their share of fines collected through State Police traffic stops.

“Police coverage is increasingly complex and expensive,” Tartaglione said. “This bill will  help ease the coverage complications and financial pressure on the State Police while creating a fairer funding system for all Pennsylvania taxpayers.”

Under current law, half of the traffic-enforcement fines collected through state police patrols in a local municipality are returned to the municipality through a Motor License Fund formula – even if the municipality relies only on the state for police protection.

“Taxpayers in hundreds of cities foot the bill for most police services through local property taxes, while more than 1,500 municipalities pay nothing, and get money back,” Tartaglione said. “This puts strain on our most vulnerable communities and tough economic times make it worse.”

Senate Bill 237 would deny distribution of traffic-fine revenue from the Motor License Fund to any municipality that does not provide locally for at least 40 hours of coverage per week through its own force or a regional contract.  An amendment inserted today exempts municipalities with fewer than 3,000 residents. It passed the Senate Transportation Committee today unanimously. The bill is expected to affect about 1,200 municipalities across Pennsylvania and steer more than $4 million toward State Police cadet training.