Date Requested:January 09, 2014
Time Requested:02:07 PM
Agency: Public Defender Services
CBD Number: Version: Bill Number: Resolution Number:
2014R1140 Introduced SB99
CBD Subject: REINTRO2013-124INCREASE THE HOURLY RATE
FUND(S)
0226
Sources of Revenue
General Fund
Legislation creates:
Neither Program nor Fund

Fiscal Note Summary

Effect this measure will have on costs and revenues of state government.

    Under the provisions of Section 13a of Article 21 of Chapter 29 of the West Virginia Code, panel attorneys who are appointed to represent eligible clients in eligible proceedings are compensated at the rate of forty-five (45) dollars an hour for "work performed out of court" and at the rate of sixty-five (65) dollars an hour for "work performed in court." For the FY2013, the total compensation paid from the state's general revenue at these rates was $22,846,828.26.
    
    The legislation proposes an increase in this rate of compensation when the services are provided in child abuse and neglect proceedings under the provisions of Article 6 of Chapter 49 of the West Virginia Code. Specifically, the rate of compensation is to be increased to seventy-five (75) dollars an hour for "work performed out of court" and ninety-five (95) dollars an hour for "work performed in court."
    
    Panel attorneys who are to be appointed in these proceedings are required to obtain eight hours of training in child abuse and neglect procedures in the two year reporting period. Currently, the agency does not compensate panel attorneys for the time committed to their continuing legal education.
    
    The legislation proposes that panel attorneys be compensated for the time in "multidisciplinary training" at the rate of ninety-five (95) dollars an hour.
    

Fiscal Note Detail
Over-all effect
Effect of Proposal Fiscal Year
2014
Increase/Decrease
(use"-")
2015
Increase/Decrease
(use"-")
Fiscal Year
(Upon Full
Implementation)
1. Estmated Total Cost 0 5,524,756 5,524,756
Personal Services 0 0 0
Current Expenses 0 5,524,756 5,524,756
Repairs and Alterations 0 0 0
Assets 0 0 0
Other 0 0 0
2. Estimated Total Revenues 0 0 0
3. Explanation of above estimates (including long-range effect):
    The legislation requires payment from general revenue at an increased rate of compensation to panel attorneys who are appointed in child abuse and neglect proceedings.
    
    The additional thirty (30) dollar an hour compensation for the "out of court" and "in court" services would have required an increased appropriation for FY2013 in the amount of $5,333,615.70. The "in court" hours that were reported in child abuse and neglect proceedings for FY2013 totaled 30,450.30. The "out of court" hours that were reported in child abuse and neglect proceedings for FY2013 totaled 147,336.89. The total number of hours, therefore, that would have been adjusted by the proposed thirty (30) dollar increase in the rate of compensation would be 177,787.19.
    
    The agency plans its budget for ensuing fiscal years on the assumption that the number of reported hours will remain constant.
    
    With respect to compensation for attending training on the subject of multidisciplinary teams, the agency can only estimate the additional revenue that would have been required in FY2013. The agency does not require the attorneys to report this information. The reporting period for the attorney is two (2) years. If the entire eight (8) hours of required training is related to the multidisciplinary subject, then the assumption is that four (4)hours should be allocated to each fiscal year. In FY2013, 503 attorneys submitted claims for payment of fees related to child abuse and neglect proceedings. This would represent 2012 hours of mandated training in the FY2013 for these attorneys. At the rate of compensation of ninety-five (95) dollars, this would have required an additional appropriation of $191,140.
    
    In summary, the legislation would have required, based upon the statistics for FY2013 contained in the "West Virginia Public Defender Services, Annual Report 2012 - 2013," an additional annual appropriation in the total amount of $5,524,755.70.


Memorandum
Person submitting Fiscal Note:
Dana F. Eddy, Ex. Dir.,WV Public Defender Services
Email Address:
Dana.F.Eddy@wv.gov
    The legislation proposes compensation for panel attorneys who are appointed to child abuse and neglect proceedings for their attendance at "multidisciplinary training." Attorneys are required to obtain eight hours of training for "child abuse and neglect procedure." The two terms may not be identical. Is "multidisciplinary training" only a subset of "child abuse and neglect procedures"? Also, travel time would impliedly not be included in the term "attending." These are questions that might be raised once vouchers are prepared for payment and for which clarification would be desired. As an observation, it is not the typical practice for attorneys to be compensated for the time committed to their continuing legal education.