Friday, January 8, 2016
California Chief Justice Hails Budget Earmarking $3.8 Billion for Courts
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Copies of Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget summary rest on a table as he unveils his proposed 2016-17 state budget at a news conference yesterday in Sacramento.
California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye yesterday expressed delight over the allocation in Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed 2016–17 budget of $3.8 billion for the Judicial Branch, including $2.8 billion for trial court operations.
The total amount of the state budget is $122.6 billion.
Last year, Brown proposed $3.47 billion for the courts, a $180 million boost over the previous fiscal year. The current sum proposed for the courts is a $330 million increase.
“We welcome the Governor’s proposed budget for the judicial branch as it would provide $146.3 million in crucial new funding for our courts. Much of the new funding would be focused on innovations to benefit court users at all levels of our court system. The proposed budget reflects a steady but cautious new investment in the judicial branch since fiscal year 2012–2013. The budget contains ‘proposals to support efforts by the Judicial Council to improve court operations and increase access.’
“In addition to supporting local as well as branchwide innovations, the Governor’s budget would provide funding for statewide infrastructure needs, language access expansion in civil proceedings, and funding to assist trial courts facing increased workload related to sentencing reforms.
“The Governor’s proposed budget would help make courts more accessible, efficient, and equitable for court users. The Judicial Council looks forward to working with the Administration and Legislature as we seek to address state budget issues affecting access to justice for the people of California.”
The current recession began in December of 2007. The summary compares court funding for 2007-08 with court funding, under the proposed budget, for 20016-17, showing a 10.5 percent increase.
It provides this breakdown:
The summary contained an administration pledge to work with the Judicial Branch “on improving access and modernizing court operations through innovative approaches.”
It praised innovations that have already taken place, singling four of them:
“Fresno Superior Court’s remote video proceedings for traffic violations, Imperial Superior Court’s Binational Justice Project, Contra Costa Superior Court’s efforts related to online probable cause determinations, and San Bernardino Superior Court’s automated payment processing.”
The summary comments:
“Additional innovative programs could include a self-scheduling system for traffic courts, the use of kiosks for traffic court proceedings, and the development of electronic recordings in family courts.”
An extensive summary of the budget proposal, released yesterday by Brown’s office.
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