OCR submitted its Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Request on November 1. Significant items include an over $700,000 request to address projected caseload/workload increases; a 5% increase in the hourly rate paid to contract attorneys and staff; a new OCR staff attorney position to address workload; and federal funding of approximately $1.5 million to expand services. The Joint Budget Committee (JBC) staff reviewed OCR’s request and briefed the committee on December 3. OCR received questions from the committee members based on that briefing, and will provide responses prior to the December 13 hearing, where OCR Executive Director Chris Henderson will present OCR’s budget to the JBC. The figure-setting process, which includes recommendations from JBC staff regarding OCR’s requests, will likely take place in February.
Court-appointed counsel expenditures in the current fiscal year are trending very close to last year. While the need for a supplemental appropriation in the current fiscal year is unlikely, OCR is continually monitoring these expenditures to ensure adequate funding through June 30.