Proposed California Bill May Be Life Line for Court Budget Cuts
As court funding continues its downward slide, one bit of good news for California courts is a potential policy reversal on rainy day funds. With the Great Recession, lawmakers were seeking every possible penny to pinch. As such, they limited the judicial system’s ability to squirrel away money in their rainy day fund when they came in under budget. The fund was limited to just one percent of their unspent dollars.
Courthouse News reports the policy has a good chance of changing during the new budget. They report, “The new bill now moving through the Assembly, AB 2458, would overturn that 2013 law and return to the previous status quo, allowing trial courts to keep a rainy-day fund for expenses over and above the day-to-day operation of the court, such as technology projects and emergencies.”
Court budgets have been slashed across the country, but California has seen a significant number of courthouses actually close.
The bill’s sponsor, Assembly Member Jay Olbernolte, is notably a Republican who says he’s seen first hand the effect courthouse closing can have on a community. Per the interview with Courthouse News:
“My first official act as mayor was to take a phone call from the presiding judge of the San Bernardino County court informing me that the courthouse in Big Bear Lake was to be closed. Barstow, Needles and Twin Peaks were also being closed,” he said in an interview. “Through the ensuing years I saw firsthand the impact that a lack of access to justice could have. That’s given me a deeper appreciation for what our courts do,” he said.
Read the full story at Courthouse News.