MACo Action Alert: Don’t Shift Pretrial Costs onto Counties, Who Can’t Control Them

MACo Action Alerts


Contact your Senators on the Budget and Taxation Committee to urge them to REJECT THE PRETRIAL COST SHIFT


Counties already are bearing major costs under the new system of providing legal representation before District Court Commissioners. This unfair proposal only piles on more county costs, which the counties can’t even manage.


Rejecting this DLS-recommended budget language would mean:

  • No effect on the state budget’s bottom line – this doesn’t create a “hole in the boat”
  • Counties would not be subject to a surprise unfunded mandate to support a program completely run in the state Judicial branch, outside their control
  • Efforts can be focused on investing in a long-term, properly funded solution for the State to comply with the Court of Appeals holding in DeWolfe v. Richmond.

The FY 15 budget included a one-time, stop-gap measure — $10 million in to the Judiciary’s budget to provide pretrial representation before District Court Commissioners consistent with the holding of the Court of Appeals in DeWolfe v. Richmond. This was accompanied by the troubling provision requiring any cost-overrun in the program to be paid by county governments.

To continue this language into a second year’s budget sets an alarming precedent and puts counties in a difficult position of having to cover the costs for a program they cannot control.


2015 Senate Budget & Taxation Committee

MACo Contact: Natasha Mehu, Policy Analyst