In 1963 the Supreme Court held, in the case of Gideon v. Wainwright, that the provision of Sixth Amendment lawyers for indigent people is a state obligation under the Fourteenth Amendment. And while the Supreme Court has not directly considered whether it is unconstitutional for a state to delegate its constitutional responsibility to its counties and cities, the state must still guarantee that local governments are not only capable of providing adequate representation, but that they are in fact doing so.
This bill puts the responsibility of public defense funding back on the state. It requires the state to fully fund public defense services to be carried out via a reimbursement process through the Office of Public Defense (OPD). Counties and cities would be required to apply for reimbursement from OPD for the provision of public defense services in the previous year with all required information and documentation due to OPD by September 1 of each year.
A hearing on the HB 2031 has not yet been set.
Good website for info: http://sixthamendment.org/
ACLU link to articles on this issue: https://www.aclu.org/search/%20?f%5B0%5D=field_issues%3A52
Office of Public Defense site: http://www.opd.wa.gov/