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  S.B. No. 316
  relating to the prioritization of certain available legal defense
  services when appointing representation for an indigent defendant
  in a criminal case.
         SECTION 1.  Articles 26.04(f), (h), and (i), Code of
  Criminal Procedure, are amended to read as follows:
         (f)  In a county in which a public defender's office is
  created or designated under Article 26.044, the court or the
  courts' designee shall give priority in appointing [may appoint]
  that office to represent the defendant.  However, the court is not
  required to appoint the public defender's office if:
               (1)  the court has reason to appoint other counsel; or
               (2)  a managed assigned counsel program also exists in
  the county and an attorney will be appointed under that program [in
  accordance with guidelines established for the office].
         (h)  Subject to Subsection (f), in [In] a county in which an
  alternative program for appointing counsel is established as
  provided by Subsection (g) and is approved by the presiding judge of
  the administrative judicial region, a court or the courts' designee
  may appoint an attorney to represent an indigent defendant by using
  the alternative program. In establishing an alternative program
  under Subsection (g), the judges of the courts establishing the
  program may not, without the approval of the commissioners court,
  obligate the county by contract or by the creation of new positions
  that cause an increase in expenditure of county funds.
         (i)  Subject to Subsection (f), a [A] court or the courts'
  designee required under Subsection (c) to appoint an attorney to
  represent a defendant accused or convicted of a felony may appoint
  an attorney from any county located in the court's administrative
  judicial region.
         SECTION 2.  The change in law made by this Act applies only
  to a criminal proceeding that commences on or after the effective
  date of this Act. A criminal proceeding that commences before the
  effective date of this Act is governed by the law in effect when the
  proceeding commenced, and the former law is continued in effect for
  that purpose.
         SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2015.
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 316 passed the Senate on
  March 23, 2015, by the following vote:  Yeas 31, Nays 0.
  Secretary of the Senate    
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 316 passed the House on
  May 24, 2015, by the following vote:  Yeas 138, Nays 2, two
  present not voting.
  Chief Clerk of the House