Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, August 21, 2006


Page 4


Bill to Increase Judgeships, Convert Commissioner Posts Clears Assembly Committee


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Legislation that would create new judgeships across the state and provide for the eventual conversion of 161 commissioner and referee positions to judgeships has cleared the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

The committee Thursday approved SB 56, by Sen. Joseph Dunn, D-Garden Grove, by a vote of 13-0.

Voting in favor were Democrats Judy Chu of Monterey Park, Karen Bass of Los Angeles, Patty Berg of Santa Rosa, Ron Calderon of Montebello, Hector De La Torre of South Gate, Betty Karnette of Long Beach, Johan Klehs of Hayward, Joe Nation of San Rafael, Jenny Oropeza of Carson, Mark Ridley-Thomas of Los Angeles, Lori Saldana of San Diego, and Leland Yee of San Francisco.

Republicans Sharon Runner of Lancaster, Bill Emmerson of Rancho Cucamonga, Ray Haynes of Temecula, Alan Nakanishi of Lodi, and Marian Walters of Laguna Niguel did not vote.

Committee members could not reached for comment on the vote Friday afternoon, but a source familiar with the situation said that Republicans still have concerns about the billís price tag, even though funding for the positions was part of this yearís bipartisan budget deal.

The bill provides for an unspecified number of new judgeships to be created in each of the next three years, to be distributed among the counties based on a formula approved by the Judicial Council. Lawmakers said at the time of the budget deal they anticipated there would be funds to create 50 new judgeships in each of the three years.

†The bill passed the Senate last year by a vote of 36-2, but had been moribund until the funding agreement was reached. The cost of 150 judgeships, including support staff, is expected to top $118 million.


Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company