Landmark Law Finances Unprecedented Courthouse Rebuilding Program
(Stats. 2008, ch. 311)
This legislation, signed into law on Sept 26, 2008, launched an unprecedented courthouse rebuilding program in California by designating judicial branch revenues to fund up to $5 billion in lease-revenue bonds that will finance new construction and renovation projects. It has been estimated that 104,000 direct and indirect jobs would be created by the projects funded by Senate Bill 1407.
The law created a revenue stream from court fees, penalties, and assessments to finance courthouse construction and renovations, ensuring that these projects would be paid for from within the judicial branch rather than drawing on the state's general fund.
SB 1407 on California Courts News
"Senate Bill 1407 is a major step forward that will help ensure the safety and security of our courthouses for all Californians, including litigants, jurors, lawyers, employees, and other members of the public."
This historic revenue bond was the legislature's first significant commitment to funding courthouse improvements across the state since the enactment of the Trial Court Facilities Act in 2002.
Soon after enactment of SB 1407, the Judicial Council approved 41 projects in 34 counties to be funded by the revenues secured through this law.
At its October 2008 business meeting, the Judicial Council also adopted an update to the methodology for prioritizing new trial court construction and renovation projects to align it with SB 1407.
Effective January 1, 2009, SB 1407 affects fees, penalties, and assessments in criminal and traffic courts, and increases filing fees in civil, family, and probate courts. All revenue from the new assessments, fees, and increases will be used for facilities projects, including renovation and new court construction.