Senator Joseph Griffo is sponsoring two bills that would address issues concerning the criminal justice system while relieving counties of unfunded mandates.

Griffo is calling on the state to provide $1.6 million in financial assistance to help all counties pay for a recent state-mandated increase in salaries for local District Attorneys.

He say another bill would require the state to provide fully-funded legal representation for indigent criminal defendants by 2018 by reimbursing all counties for those expenses.

Griffo says both bills, if approved, would help relieve counties of the financial strain they're currently experiencing.

Griffo said: “Everyone has a constitutional right to an attorney. But as our counties try to balance their budgets, the fairness of our criminal justice system for the poorest of criminal defendants should not depend upon how much local taxpayers are able pay toward their county’s indigent legal services.

Requiring the State to fully reimburse financially-stressed counties for indigent legal services would help ensure that our public defenders can provide the proper attention these important cases deserve in the interest of justice.”