The Colorado legislature is again considering a bill to shift a significant portion of prosecutors’ pay to the state.
Under the current scheme, district attorneys’ budgets are set by the counties they serve. Although funding is rarely an issue for Colorado’s more densely populated judicial districts, budgets can be a sore spot for prosecutors in rural areas where county commissioners are unable to meet budget requests. In some circumstances, such as in the 3rd District, that can affect how prosecutors choose which cases to pursue.
Third Judicial District Attorney Henry Solano refused to take up some cases last year after commissioners from Huerfanao and Las Animas counties said they were unable to meet his budget request.
The funding plan proposed in Senate Bill 50, however, would establish minimum salary requirements for the district attorney as well as assistant district attorney and one chief deputy district attorney in each district based on the salaries of a district judge, county court judge and district court magistrate, respectively. The bill would also require the state to fund a certain percentage of assistant and chief deputy salaries.