June 18, 2013 > Court funding
Submitted By Jeff Barbosa
The Senate and Assembly budget conference committee's decision to provide $63M more in court funding than originally proposed by the Governor should be the first step of a long-term effort to restore adequate funding to the third branch, according to Assembly Judiciary Chairman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) who represents the 25th Assembly District which includes Fremont, Newark, Milpitas, San Jose and Santa Clara.
"The $63M above the original proposed budget is a step in the right direction but clearly more will need to be done to offset the significant cuts the courts have taken over the last several years," Wieckowski said. "If the revenues come in as projected by the Legislative Analyst's Office, there's clearly support in the Assembly for additional court funding."
Wieckowski noted that 64 Assembly members signed a letter seeking $100M in trial court funding to rebuild our judicial system.
Although one-time fixes and backfills have partially spared the court system, trial courts have seen significant cuts and have taken dramatic steps to address the decrease in funding.
A survey by the Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee found that budget cuts have resulted in 175 courtrooms closed across the state, more than 50 courthouses closed and more than 35 courts have reduced their self-help and family law facilitator assistance.
"This needs to be a long-term commitment by the Legislature to restore funding to the courts because there are real people being hurt by these raw numbers," Wieckowski added. "Just as we have worked carefully to allocate more resources to our schools and universities, we will need to do the same over several years to stabilize our judicial system."