Lawyers who’ve represented Iowans in court who otherwise could not afford an attorney would get paid for their work under a bill which advanced in the Iowa Senate Monday. Past bills for indigent defense have gone unpaid while Democrats and Republicans quarreled over tax cuts.
Rob Hogg , a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, convinced the Senate Appropriations committee Monday to approve the supplemental spending for those lawyers. “They have not been paid since late February,” Hogg said. “In the Senate, we did our job. We passed this on February 13 by a vote of 49 to nothing. But it’s gotten bogged down since that time.”
Hogg urged passage of the supplemental spending for indigent defense or the state would risk paying late fees. “There are a lot of young attorneys, small business people, who need this money to keep this business going and pay their employees, Hogg said. “If we don’t start paying this soon we’ll be paying interest of one percent per month.”
Governor Branstad on Monday urged lawmakers to approve the spending and settle their other differences later. Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha vows to block the spending until Democrats agree with their proposed “taxpayer relief fund.” But, he believes an agreement is coming soon.
“Basically we have agreed to everything but the exact language of the taxpayers relief fund,” Paulsen said.