Court Funding News

Governor Jerry Brown’s latest budget proposal no doubt helps treat the California judiciary’s wounded budgets.

The Governor’s budget raises the state court system’s budget from last year’s $3.29 billion to $3.47 billion, with most of that increase headed to the 58 trial courts around California hit hardest by past cutbacks.  Courts in counties across the state have been forced to reduce public hours, lay off employees and shutter remote courthouses as a result of prior cuts that at one point exceeded $1 billion over several years

Meanwhile, things are not as good in Kansas. The Kansas Supreme Court plans to propose legislation this session that would allow it to tap its “electronic management filing fund” to fill a large hole in this year’s operating budget, according to Chief Justice Lawton Nuss.

Kansas courts are currently looking at a $3.6 million funding shortfall to finish out this fiscal year. If allowed to use its e-filing money, that would cover $3.1 million of the shortage, Nuss says. The courts would make up the rest primarily by not filling a large number of vacant positions. The court sent a letter out to judicial branch employees earlier this week explaining its decision. The letter notes diverting the money won’t hurt the continuing move to electronic filing because the court system can’t do any additional work on developing the system this year anyway.

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