State public defender act
STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER ACT – Amends, repeals, and adds to existing law to establish the State Public Defender Act.

RS30446 / H0236

This bill is follow-up legislation to H 735aa (2022), and enacts a new model of public defense using the funding mechanism enacted in that bill. The Idaho Supreme Court recently held that the state remains liable for inadequate provision of public defense in this state even though the requirement to provide public defense has been delegated to counties since 1967.

The bill eliminates one state agency, the Public Defense Commission, and in its place creates the Office of State Public Defender. The agency will be headed by the State Public Defender, who along with the District Public Defenders in each judicial district, will share the responsibilities of carrying out the state’s public defense system. The State Public Defender sets broad statewide policy, standards, and budget with input from the District Public Defenders. The District Public Defenders, one for each of the seven judicial districts, carry out the operational day-to-day functions of public defense in their corresponding judicial district consistent with state policy. The bill seeks to respect local input in who becomes the State Public Defender by having a panel consisting of one Magistrate Commissioner for each judicial district, nominate individuals from which the Governor appoints the State Public Defender. The Magistrates Commission will hire the District Public Defender in each judicial district. In counties without institutional offices, the Office of the State Public Defender will continue to contract with attorneys who practice in the county or judicial district.

In counties that have an institutional office, public defense services will be provided by employes of the Office of the State Public Defender. The class action suit against the state’s public defense system is scheduled to go to trial early next year. This is the last legislative session before the trial to affect that suit.

Bill Events
Date Description
02/28 Introduced, read first time, referred to JRA for Printing
03/01 Reported Printed and Referred to Judiciary, Rules & Administration
03/08 Reported out of Committee with Do Pass Recommendation, Filed for Second Reading
03/09 Read second time; Filed for Third Reading
Rules Suspended: Ayes 65 Nays 0 Abs/Excd 5, read in full as required – PASSED - 54-16-0
AYES – Allgood, Andrus, Berch, Blanksma, Bundy, Burns, Cannon, Cheatum, Clow, Cornilles, Crane(12), Dixon(1), Dixon(24), Durrant, Ehlers, Erickson, Furniss, Galaviz, Garner, Green, Handy, Healey, Hill, Holtzclaw, Horman, Kingsley, Lanting, Manwaring, Mathias, McCann, Mickelsen, Miller, Mitchell, Monks, Nash, Necochea, Nelsen, Palmer, Petzke, Pickett, Raybould, Raymond, Roberts, Sauter, Shepherd, Skaug, Tanner, Vander Woude, Weber, Wheeler, Wroten, Yamamoto, Young, Mr. Speaker
NAYS – Alfieri, Barbieri, Boyle, Chew, Crane(13), Ehardt, Gallagher, Gannon, Hawkins, Lambert, Mendive, Price, Redman, Rubel, Scott, Wisniewski
Absent – None
Floor Sponsors - Weber & Cannon
Title apvd - to Senate
03/10 Received from the House passed; filed for first reading
Introduced, read first time; referred to: Judiciary & Rules
03/15 Reported out of Committee with Do Pass Recommendation; Filed for second reading
03/16 Read second time; filed for Third Reading
03/23 Read third time in full – PASSED - 29-6-0
AYES – Adams, Anthon, Bernt, Burtenshaw, Carlson, Cook, Den Hartog, Grow, Guthrie, Harris, Hartgen, Herndon, Just, Lakey, Lee, Lent, Nichols, Rabe, Ricks, Ruchti, Schroeder, Semmelroth, Taylor, Trakel, VanOrden, Ward-Engelking, Winder, Wintrow, Zuiderveld
NAYS – Bjerke, Foreman, Hart, Lenney, Okuniewicz, Toews
Absent and excused – None
Floor Sponsor - Lakey
Title apvd - to House
03/24 Returned from Senate Passed; to JRA for Enrolling
Reported Enrolled; Signed by Speaker; Transmitted to Senate
Received from the House enrolled/signed by Speaker
Signed by President; returned to House
03/28 Returned Signed by the President; Ordered Transmitted to Governor
Delivered to Governor at 9 a.m. on March 28, 2023
04/06 Reported Signed by Governor on March 30, 2023
Session Law Chapter 220
Effective: 07/01/2023 SECTION 3, 16, 18-22, 32, 34, & 40;
07/01/2024 SECTION 1, 2, 4, 5-10, 12-15, 23-31, 33, & 35-39;
10/01/2024 SECTION 11;
07/01/2025 SECTION 17