Council to Consider 2015 Legislative Priorities

for release

Contact: <a href="">Blaine Corren</a>, 415-865-7740

December 5, 2014

Council to Consider 2015 Legislative Priorities

Recommended priorities include new investment in the court system, more judgeships, and legislation to expand access to interpreters

Judicial Council Seal

SAN FRANCISCO—At its public meeting on December 12, the Judicial Council will consider recommendations from its Policy Coordination and Liaison Committee on what the council’s priorities should be for the 2015 legislative year.

The committee’s report recommends that the council advocate for: (1) new investment in our justice system, avoiding further budget reductions, and finding a method to provide stable and reliable funding; (2) securing new judgeships for communities most in need and ratifying the authority of the council to convert vacant subordinate judicial officer positions to judgeships in eligible courts; and (3) legislation to continue expanding access to court interpreters.

Other items on the December 12 council meeting agenda include:

Report on Need for New Judgeships: The council will consider a report to the Legislature showing that the California court system needs nearly 270 new judicial officers to meet its workload. The report from the council’s Workload Assessment Advisory Committee also recommends the council revise the methodology used to prioritize judgeships to make it easier for small courts with high workloads to become eligible for new judges. Smaller courts with judicial workload that is substantial but less than the threshold currently required to be eligible for an additional judgeship, are less able to spread the increased workload around because they have fewer judges than larger courts.

Expanding Interpreter Use to More Civil Cases: Effective January 1, 2015, Assembly Bill 1657 authorizes courts to provide interpreters to all parties in civil matters, regardless of income, and sets forth a priority order when courts do not have sufficient resources to provide interpreters for all persons. The report from the council’s Court Interpreters Advisory Panel recommends that the council authorize courts to expand interpreter use consistent with the requirements of the statute.

Report on Parolee Reentry Courts: The council will consider approval of a report that assesses the effectiveness of pilot reentry courts in reducing recidivism. By statute, the council is required to submit to the Governor and Legislature a final evaluation report no later than three years after the establishment of a reentry court.

Court Closures: Per statute and its normal meeting procedures, the council will receive an updated report on which trial courts have closed courtrooms or clerks’ offices or reduced clerks’ office hours because of budget reductions. This is the 28th report to date listing the latest court notices received by the council under this statutory requirement. Since the last council report, the Superior Courts of Calaveras, Mono, and San Diego Counties have issued new notices of closures or reductions.

The council’s public business meeting is scheduled for Friday, December 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., at the Judicial Council Conference Center, Hiram Johnson State Office Building, Third Floor, Ronald M. George State Office Complex, 455 Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco.

A live audiocast of the meeting will be on the California Courts website, and the agenda and council reports are posted online.