Oppose Unfunded Mandate that Requires Locality to Supplement Public Defender Salaries

January 25, 2022

SB 282 (Ebbin) and HB 862 (Lopez) mandate local governments to supplement public defenders’ salaries if they supplement the salaries of Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ offices. Similar to legislation that failed in 2020, VACo opposes these bills that require that the governing body of any County or City that supplements the compensation of the Attorney for the Commonwealth, or any of their deputies or employees, above the salary of any such Attorney of the Commonwealth, deputy, or employee, to proportionally supplement the compensation of the public defender, or any of his deputies or employees.

If any locality supplements its Commonwealth’s Attorney’s salary as many localities already do, this creates an unfunded mandate requiring that they also similarly supplement Public Defenders’ salaries in a similar fashion.

SB 282 passed Senate Judiciary on an 8-7 vote and has been sent to the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee. HB 862 will be heard in House Counties, Cities and Towns.

VACo Contact: Phyllis Errico, Esq., CAE

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