Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Page 4


Members of Bench-Bar Coalition Discuss Court Closures, Budget


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Members of the Bench Bar Coalition yesterday agreed to make preservation of the judiciary’s budget one of their objectives for the coming year during a conference call yesterday.

Other objectives the group identified include further supporting communication with the Legislature, working with court leaders to mitigate the impact of court closures, and strengthening partnerships and expanding participation with bench, bar and legal services leaders.

The group also approved as additional objectives securing funding for 50 new judgeships statewide which have been authorized but not yet funded, and securing authorization of funding for an additional 50 judgeships.

During the discussion prior to the vote, one member expressed concern that preserving the judiciary’s budget was “unattainable” and suggested forming a “back-up plan” to “have on the shelf if we need to reach for it.”

However the consensus of the group was to continue to focus its efforts on protecting the budget from further cuts in the next fiscal year and not yet take a stance on alternatives.

The group was also informed that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had approved the State Bar dues bill, SB 55 by Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro. The governor had vetoed the original bill, SB 641, last October, citing concerns with the State Bar’s management.

In a signing message to the Senate, Schwarzenegger said he was “pleased that the State Bar has taken these concerns seriously and has taken commendable steps to address these problems” and as a result was reinstating the State Bar’s authority to collect dues from its members.

“I urge the State Bar to continue its efforts and look forward to evaluating its progress when next year’s dues bill comes to my desk,” he wrote.

The Bench-Bar Coalition was formed in 1993 with the mission of enhancing communication and coordinating the activities of the judicial community as well as securing adequate, dependable, and stable funding for the trial courts.



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