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House Bill 367 – Creation of the Office of the State Public Defender, Trailer Appropriation FY24

House Bill 367 – Creation of the Office of the State Public Defender, Trailer Appropriation FY24

Niklas Kleinworth
March 27, 2023

The Idaho Spending Index serves to provide a fiscally conservative perspective on state budgeting while providing an unbiased measurement of how Idaho lawmakers apply these values to their voting behavior on appropriations bills. Each bill is analyzed within the context of the metrics below. They receive one (+1) point for each metric that is satisfied by freedom-focused policymaking and lose one (-1) point for each instance in which the inverse is true. The sum of these points composes the score for the bill.

Analyst: Niklas Kleinworth

Rating: -1

Bill Description: House Bill 367 is a trailer appropriation for House Bill 236 that provides an additional appropriation to the Public Defense Commission of $4,467,600 for fiscal year 2024.

House Bill 376 is a trailer appropriation for House Bill 236 which creates the new Office of the State Public Defender and sunsets the Public Defense Commission. This legislation is in response to a ruling by the Idaho State Supreme Court that declared that the State of Idaho is still liable for public defense despite administration of the program at the county level. This legislation creates the new office and abolishes the existence of the Public Defense Commission in the 2025 fiscal year.

Does this budget incur any wasteful spending among discretionary funds, including new line items? Conversely, does this budget contain any provisions that serve to reduce spending where possible (i.e. base reductions, debt reconciliation, etc.)? 

This appropriation is consistent with the fiscal note accompanying House Bill 236 and makes the appropriations effective in the 2024 fiscal year. There is no evidence of wastefulness in this appropriation.


Does the budget grow government through the addition of new permanent FTPs or through funding unlegislated efforts to create new or expanded entitlement programs? Conversely, does this budget reduce the size of government staff and programs except where compelled by new legislation?

To create the new Office of the State Public Defender, this legislation will add 10.00 new full-time positions to the Public Defense Commission to aid with the transition of services and the establishment of the new office. These positions will be necessary for such a transition and all of them are accounted for in the fiscal note for House Bill 236. However, it is unclear how many of these positions will be reverted – if any – after the transition period ends. This bill demonstrates permanent growth of government through additional ongoing spending, programs, and personnel.


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