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Relating to the provision and administration of indigent defense services.
Currently, the TIDC is unable to provide grants to entities other than counties. SB 1353 would expand their ability to have state-wide discretion over how indigent defense is handled. Texas is known to have some of the most innovative indigent defense systems and much of that can be attributed to the local discretion that we have handed to the counties.
However, this bill is limited to administrative services, thereby limiting the costs. This bill also would help impact government transparency by providing both a database and training that could help Texans have a more accurate assessment of the efficiency of different indigent defense programs.
We support this bill for encouraging government transparency which enhances limited government.