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Relating to the provision of funding for indigent defense services and to the representation of indigent defendants in criminal cases.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
SB 1649 would specify that grants distributed by the Texas Indigent Defense Commission to assist a county in providing indigent defense services may be used for improving the provision of such services in the county. Nonprofits that provide indigent defense services or indigent defense support services in the county would be eligible to receive such grants.
This bill would also require the Commission to determine for each county the entity or entities that are eligible to receive funds for indigent defense services based on compliance with standards adopted by the Commission.
Finally, this bill would require the Commission to establish policies and standards for the operation of a public defender's office, and conduct a biennial review of the schedule of fees adopted for the repayment of an attorney, other than a public defender or attorney employed by the office of capital and forensic writ, who is appointed to represent an indigent defendant, and of the total amount of fees paid by counties to such attorneys to ensure that the attorney's fees are consistent and fair.
Texas Action is neutral on SB 1649 as it does not affect our liberty principles.