2023 Legislation: Indigent Defense

HB 409 (Author: Collier | Sponsor: Zaffirini), Relating to the governance and administration of the Texas Indigent Defense Commission and to certain disclosures made in relation to the provision of funding for indigent defense services. HB 409 adds two board members to the current 5-member governing board of the Texas Indigent Defense Commission (TIDC). One member must be either a director of a managed assigned counsel (MAC) program in Texas or a person with demonstrated expertise in indigent defense issues. The other member must be a justice of the peace, municipal court judge, or appointed magistrate whose regular duties include presiding over magistration hearings. A director of a MAC program who sits on the TIDC governing board must disclose their position if the program they direct is applying for funds, and they may not participate in the voting process. Effective on 9/1/23 

SB 2120 (Authors: Zaffirini; Sparks | Sponsor: Cook), Relating to the establishment of a family protection representation program within the Texas Indigent Defense Commission. SB 2120 implements the Texas Judicial Council’s adopted resolution [2022] requesting the establishment of a Family Protection Representation Program within the Texas Indigent Defense Commission (TIDC). This bill requires TIDC to develop policies and standards for providing family protection services to indigent parents and children; the policies may include performance and qualification standards for appointed attorneys in suits filed by the Department of Family and Protective Services. TIDC must also develop a plan that establishes statewide requirements for counties reporting indigent defense and family protection services information, and it must provide technical support to assist counties in improving their systems for providing family protection services. Counties must submit to TIDC biannual reports detailing representation procedures and annual reports detailing appointment data. Effective on 9/1/23 

During the 2023 session of the Texas Legislature, the Texas Center for Justice and Equity tracked around 40 youth and adult justice bills that made it to the Governor's desk. You can find links to all of our analyses in our 2023 Bill Analysis Guide.