Austin, Texas
                    FISCAL NOTE, 77th Regular Session
                            February 26, 2001
          TO:  Honorable Kenneth Armbrister, Chair, Senate Committee on
               Criminal Justice
        FROM:  John Keel, Director, Legislative Budget Board
       IN RE:  SB7  by Ellis, Rodney (Relating to the provision of legal
               services for indigent persons accused of crimes.), As
*  Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for    *
*  SB7, As Introduced:  negative impact of $(2,482,224) through the      *
*  biennium ending August 31, 2003.                                      *
*                                                                        *
*  The bill would make no appropriation but could provide the legal      *
*  basis for an appropriation of funds to implement the provisions of    *
*  the bill.                                                             *
*                                                                        *
*  The fiscal implications in the following table assume an effective    *
*  date of September 1, 2001.                                            *
General Revenue-Related Funds, Five-Year Impact:
          *  Fiscal Year  Probable Net Positive/(Negative)   *
          *               Impact to General Revenue Related  *
          *                             Funds                *
          *       2002                         $(1,002,847)  *
          *       2003                          (1,479,377)  *
          *       2004                          (1,277,298)  *
          *       2005                          (1,277,298)  *
          *       2006                          (1,277,298)  *
All Funds, Five-Year Impact:
*Fiscal    Probable Savings/(Cost) from     Change in Number of State     *
* Year         General Revenue Fund           Employees from FY 2001      *
*                      0001                                               *
*  2002                      $(1,002,847)                            18.0 *
*  2003                       (1,479,377)                            18.0 *
*  2004                       (1,277,298)                            18.0 *
*  2005                       (1,277,298)                            18.0 *
*  2006                       (1,277,298)                            18.0 *
Technology Impact
The Office of Court Administration (OCA) assumes that the bill would
require the establishment of a database and a support staff for
maintenance and data entry.  Staffing would include 3 employees, an
information technology (IT) Project Manager, IT Data Entry Operator, and
a Statistician.  Database programming would be outsourced and completed
in fiscal years 2002 and 2003.
Fiscal Analysis
The bill would establish a Texas Indigent Defense Council (IDC) within
the judicial branch of government, administratively attached to OCA. The
budget of the IDC would be part of the Texas Judicial Council's budget.
The IDC would be composed of 15 members who meet at least quarterly.
The IDC would both enforce and develop standards; and, compile and
report information regarding indigent defense.  The bill would establish
the Appointed Counsel Assistance Program (ACAP) within the IDC.  The
ACAP would assist counties in providing effective legal representation
to indigent persons.
OCA estimates that 18 full-time equivalent positions would be needed to
staff IDC (13 FTEs) and the ACAP (5 FTEs) and that office space for the
entities would be in a state-owned building.  The estimate assumes that
a database would be created for the reported information and initial
start-up costs would include outsourcing for a database programmer.
Travel expenses for IDC members and ACAP staff, in addition to expenses
for an annual report are included in the estimate.  OCA indicates that
the estimate does not include amounts of grants to counties and the
estimate assumes grants will be provided through gifts or direct
Local Government Impact
Provisions of SECTION 7 of the bill would increase reporting
responsibilities of the county clerks, district clerks, and county
auditors. According to the Texas Association of Counties (TAC), large
counties could absorb the costs of the additional reporting requirements
added in Section 71.0351 of the Government Code; however, 131 of the
state's 254 counties would probably require adding a part-time position
to track, accumulate, and report the required data.  TAC estimates the
additional part-time staff would cost a county $17,800 annually for
salary, benefits, and overhead.

Duties of the Appointed Counsel Assistance Program created under SECTION
11 provisions of the bill would provide a savings to counties for
services rendered by the program, which could range from minimal for
such actions as providing information, to significant if the program
were to provide counsel or co-counsel in a capital or first-degree
felony case.
Source Agencies:   304   Comptroller of Public Accounts, 212   Office of
                   Court Administration
LBB Staff:         JK, JC, JN, TB, DB