FISCAL NOTE

Date Requested: February 10, 2020
Time Requested: 10:21 AM
Agency: Public Defender Services
CBD Number: Version: Bill Number: Resolution Number:
3041 Introduced SB732
CBD Subject: Boards and Commissions


FUND(S):

0226

Sources of Revenue:

General Fund

Legislation creates:

Increases Existing Expenses



Fiscal Note Summary


Effect this measure will have on costs and revenues of state government.


    Summarize in a clear and concise manner what impact this measure will have on costs and revenues of state government.
    
    
     The legislation provides for the compensation of private attorneys who serve on specialty courts such as adult drug court, juvenile drug court, veterans' court, and family treatment courts. Currently, service in this capacity is not considered compensable under the provisions of W. Va. Code 29-21-1, et seq., because the "eligible proceedings" in which legal services are compensated do not include the proceedings in these specialty courts. The legislation adds specialty courts to this definition.
    
     Accordingly, these additional hours of compensable service will increase the amount which Public Defender Services pays to private counsel in the course of a fiscal year.
    



Fiscal Note Detail


Effect of Proposal Fiscal Year
2020
Increase/Decrease
(use"-")
2021
Increase/Decrease
(use"-")
Fiscal Year
(Upon Full
Implementation)
1. Estmated Total Cost 349,440 349,440 349,440
Personal Services 0 0 0
Current Expenses 349,440 349,440 349,440
Repairs and Alterations 0 0 0
Assets 0 0 0
Other 0 0 0
2. Estimated Total Revenues 0 0 0


Explanation of above estimates (including long-range effect):


    Please explain increases and decreases in personal services, current expenses, repairs and alterations, assets, other costs and revenues, including assumptions and data sources and delineation between start-up and ongoing costs. Please also include a long-range schedule of costs and revenues if fiscal impact is expected to vary in future years.
    
    
     The increased number of vouchers received by Public Defender Services should not be significant enough to increase the expenses of the agency relating to personnel or other administrative costs. Instead, the increase in expenses is simply the amount paid for the services of the attorneys.
     Based on information received from the Administrative Office of the Supreme Court of Appeals, the increased hours of service to be compensated in a fiscal year will be 5,824 which, at a rate of $60 an hour, equals a total increased expense of $349,440. The estimated hours of service was based on the following specialty courts currently operating: 18 Juvenile Drug Courts, 28 Adult Drug Courts, and 5 Family Treatment Courts. The assumption was that counsel would expend 2 hours a week serving on such courts. The Family Treatment Courts requires the services of both an attorney and a guardian ad litem.
     If the treatment courts are expanded, the costs would increase, but the foregoing numbers support a forecast that each court would increase the expenses by only $6,240 per attorney.
    



Memorandum


    Please identify any areas of vagueness, technical defects, reasons a bill would not have a fiscal impact, and/or any special issues not captured elsewhere on this form.
    
    
     The expenses may be overstated because in many areas the salaried public defenders are serving on these specialty courts, typically by force of statute. Accordingly, the actual expenses may be one-half the stated amount since public defender corporations operate in 19 of the 31 judicial circuits and in about one-half of the circuits which have specialty courts. However, the higher expenses were assumed because an issue has arisen about conflicts in interest when a salaried public defender serves on the courts. The issue has not yet been resolved. An abundance of caution was exercised, therefore, to account for the undesirable resolution that prohibits service on the specialty courts by the salaried public defenders.



    Person submitting Fiscal Note: Dana F. Eddy
    Email Address: Dana.F.Eddy@wv.gov