[First Reprint]

ASSEMBLY, No. 2519



DATED: MAY 28, 1997


      Assembly Bill No. 2519 (1R) permanently establishes the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program in Monmouth County as a continuation of a two-year pilot program established pursuant to P.L.1995, c.187.

      Under this program, forensic nurse sexual assault examiners perform sexual assault examinations. The program's goals are to ensure the timely and accurate collection of forensic evidence for use in prosecuting suspected rapists and in providing compassionate treatment for sexual assault victims. The program works in cooperation with the Women's Center of Monmouth County rape crisis center, the county prosecutor's office and the Office of Victim-Witness Advocacy in the Department of Law and Public Safety.

      The bill appropriates $90,000 to the Department of Law and Public Safety for operation of the program.

      The department informally estimated the cost of continuing the program based on the operating costs of the pilot project and an estimated caseload of 10 to 12 cases per month. The department estimates program costs in the first year following enactment of this bill at $107,500. This figure includes $66,500 for the salary and fringe benefits of a program full-time coordinator; $12,000 for materials and supplies; $23,000 for services other than personal, which includes payments to the forensic nurses who perform the examinations, $1,000 for maintenance and fixed charges, and $5,000 for data processing. The department estimates that costs would increase to $156,000 in the second year, largely through the addition of a second staff member at a salary of $20,000, increases in maintenance and fixed charges and inflationary adjustments. The department estimates that $169,000 would be needed to operate the program in the third year.

      The Office of Legislative Services (OLS) concurs with the department's estimate for the first year but observes that the estimates for the second and third year appear somewhat high. For example, unless the caseload increases, the hiring of another staff member would seem unjustified. After removing this salary and excessive increases in maintenance and fixed charges, the second and third year costs of implementing this bill would be approximately $124,000 and $131,000, respectively. OLS further notes that unless the program is successful in obtaining additional non-State resources, the

appropriation provided by this bill may be inadequate for a full year's operation of the program .

      This legislative fiscal estimate has been produced by the Office of Legislative Services due to the failure of the Executive Branch to respond to our request for a fiscal note.


This fiscal estimate has been prepared pursuant to P.L.1980, c.67.