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Senate Bill 1424 – Office of the State Public Defender, Appropriations FY25

Senate Bill 1424 – Office of the State Public Defender, Appropriations FY25

Niklas Kleinworth
March 13, 2024

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: 0

Bill Description: Senate Bill 1424 appropriates $52,015,300 and 316.00 full-time positions to the Office of the State Public Defender for fiscal year 2025.

ANALYST NOTE: This legislation funds the newly established Office of the State Public Defender. The agency was established in House Bill 236 in 2023. It is meant to replace the Public Defense Commission, which has a budget request of $0 for 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.)? 

House Bill 236 of 2023 had a fiscal note that described a total appropriation available for the newly established Office of the State Public Defender at $48 million. Even if we disregard increases due to the statewide change in employee compensation, this budget would still rest at $51.9 million. However, these costs are largely due to the passage of the 15% agency-wide change in employee compensation within the Office of the Attorney General. By law, the budget for public defenders must increase commensurate with changes in the attorney general’s office, to ensure fair representation. The difference in this budget compared to what was presented in the fiscal note of the enacting legislation is reasonable.


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