Sen. Roth’s Bill to Fix California’s Judge Shortage Passes Senate Judiciary Committee

April 21, 2015

Senator Richard D. Roth’s (D-Riverside) bill to fix California’s judge shortage by funding 11 court judgeships across the State passed the Senate Judiciary Committee today on a bipartisan, unanimous vote.

“I thank my colleagues for recognizing the critical nature of fixing the judge shortage by approving SB 229,” said Senator Roth.  “The delivery of justice in a timely and equitable manner is a critical issue, not only for Inland Southern California, but for the entire state.  As California weathered the global economic crisis, it was forced to make drastic cuts to the court system, resulting in costly delays and courtroom closures.  Funding these judgeships will begin to reverse the substantial loss incurred by our justice system.”

The Legislature previously authorized 50 additional judges to meet the shortage without directing any specific funds towards them.  Previous efforts by the Legislature to direct funding towards these positions have been unsuccessful. 

SB 229 would take a measured approach by directing the funding of 10 trial court judges of the 50 total authorized by the Legislature and one appellate court justice.  SB 229 ensures the positions are funded based on the Judicial Council of California’s need-based standards.  Per these standards, three additional judges and one appellate court justice in Riverside County, as well as three additional judges in San Bernardino County, would be funded.

The Legislature would continue to work to fund the remaining 40 unfunded, previously authorized judgeships.

Senator Roth continued: “This is an access to justice issue.  By funding additional judges to meet a critical and growing need, SB 229 is the first step in ensuring justice is delivered in a timely and equitable manner.  I am looking forward to a thorough discussion on this issue and to working with my colleagues in the Legislature as SB 229 moves forward.”

SB 229 now moves to the Senate Committee on Appropriations which will review the bill’s fiscal impact.

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