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H.R. 4419, District of Columbia Judicial Financial Transparency Act 1 (August 11, 2016)

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U                              COST ESTIMATE
                                                                   August 11, 2016

                                   H.R. 4419
         District of Columbia Judicial Financial Transparency Act

   As ordered reported by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
                                  on July 12, 2016

H.R. 4419 would change portions of the District of Columbia Official Code that governs
the D.C. Courts system. Under current law, the Congress annually appropriates funds for
the District of Columbia Courts; and its expenditures are recorded in the federal budget.
The legislation would revise the financial disclosure requirements for District of Columbia
judges. The revisions would establish new dollar thresholds and requirements for reporting
to the District of Columbia Commission on Judicial Disabilities and Tenure. The bill also
would allow the District of Columbia Courts to collect fines, fees, and other payments via
credit card or electronic funds transfer. In addition, H.R. 4419 would provide new
authorities to certain judges and increase the limit for small claims cases in the District of
Columbia from $5,000 to $10,000.

Based on an analysis of the administrative costs of the District of Columbia Courts, CBO
estimates that the bill would have an insignificant effect on federal spending. However, the
new financial disclosure requirements would require the District of Columbia to hire up to
one new staff member. Although the District of Columbia Small Claims Court could be
presented with more claims under the bill, the number of judges addressing those claims
would not be increased by the legislation. Cases in the setting of a small claims court are
often more expeditious and inexpensive to resolve.

Enacting the legislation would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore,
pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 4419 would not
increase direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year
periods beginning in 2027.

The revisions and increases in jurisdictional limits in the bill would be intergovernmental
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) because they alter
local laws. CBO estimates that the aggregate costs of the mandates would be minimal and
fall well below the threshold established in the UMRA ($77 million in 2016, adjusted
annually for inflation). H.R. 4419 contains no private-sector mandates.

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