the Iowa House debated the justice system’s budget bill (SF 497). The
House passed an amendment replacing the original Senate file with its own
language. The new House amendments include language that significantly
drops court-appointed counsel reimbursement rates from $65 to $25 per hour for
language is an insult to the hard-working lawyers who take these cases and
provide constitutionally-guaranteed counsel,” said ISBA Legislative Counsel Jim
Carney. "Paying attorneys $25 per hour is an insult to our profession.
The Iowa State Bar Association cannot allow this language to become law and
further diminish the value of Iowa lawyers.”
House amendments reduced funding for indigent defense and the state public
defender compared with last year. The amendment reduced the state public
defender’s budget from $26.03 million to $24.74 million. Indigent defense
was reduced from $29.75 million to $28.23 million. The ISBA is very
concerned about the potential of a $1.5 million dollar cut to indigent defense.
need to let our elected officials know immediately that these changes will have
a drastic impact on lawyers in Iowa and the availability of court-appointed
counsel,” Carney said.
bill now returns to the Senate and can be amended by the Senate or sent to
conference committee. The ISBA urges members to contact Iowa Senators
immediately. Members should ask the Senate to restore indigent defense funding
to $29.75 million and to remove the language inserted by the House reducing
simple misdemeanor reimbursement to $25 per hour.
can find their district senator’s contact information by clicking here to be
navigated to the Iowa Legislature website.