Effort to collect on indigent legal bills fails
Democrats target measure in House
House members beat back a Republican-led effort Wednesday to force indigent criminal defendants to pay unpaid legal bills by threatening to block their driver’s license renewals or car registrations. Democrats ripped the move as an effort to penalize “the poorest of the poor’’ and a burdensome measure that would ask already state agencies to shoulder additional administrative functions. The proposal, an amendment to the House’s $32.3 billion budget, failed 36-119 with just three Democrats joining the 33-member Republican caucus in support.