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Commonwealth's Counties

VACo Supports Swatting Reimbursement to Localities

Legislation supported by VACo, which aims to allow localities to obtain a reimbursement of a “reasonable expense” for any cost incurred in responding to terrorism hoax incident, bomb threat, or malicious activation of fire alarm, was recommended to report from Subcommittee #2 of the House Counties, Cities, and Towns Committee by a vote of 7-1.

HB 147 (Reid) would allow a locality that has an ordinance requiring any person over 18 years of age convicted of false emergency communication to emergency personnel to reimburse such locality at the time of sentencing or in a separate civil action to bill a flat fee of $2,500 or a minute-by-minute accounting of actual costs incurred. The bill also allows a locality that has an ordinance requiring any person under 18 years of age convicted of false emergency communication to emergency personnel to reimburse such locality at the time of sentencing or in a separate civil action to bill a flat fee of $2,500 or a minute-by-minute accounting of actual costs incurred, not to exceed $2,500. Current law allows a flat fee of $250 or a minute-by-minute accounting of actual costs incurred, in an amount not to exceed $2,500.

VACo was happy to testify in support of this important update to enacted “swatting” legislation from last year. The senate companion for this legislation, SB 656 (Favola), has been referred to the Senate Local Government Committee.

VACo Contact: Jeremy R. Bennett

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