Senator Roth’s Proposal to Fix State’s Judge Shortage Passes State Assembly

September 02, 2015

Senate Bill 229 was approved by the Assembly this morning on a bipartisan vote of 69-0 and, if signed by the Governor, will mark the first time in nearly a decade that the State of California has funded new judges in the wake of an ongoing judge shortage.The California State Assembly has voted unanimously to approve Senator Richard D. Roth’s (D-Riverside) proposal to fix California’s judge shortage.

“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,” said Senator Roth.  “Inland Southern Californians, like many residents of our state, have witnessed the overwhelming effects of this ongoing shortage firsthand, and 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 12 trial court judges of the 50 total authorized by the Legislature.  SB 229 ensures the positions are funded based on the Judicial Council of California’s need-based standards, with over half the number of judges funded by SB 229 being placed in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties where the shortage has been especially devastating. 

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

Senator Roth continued: “This is an access to justice issue.  By funding additional judges to meet an ongoing and growing need, SB 229 is the first step in ensuring justice is delivered in a timely and equitable manner.  I am hopeful the Governor will sign SB 229 and that we will finally begin to ease the dire effects of this shortage in both Inland Southern California and the entire state.”

SB 229 now returns to the state Senate for a procedural, “concurrence” vote after which it will go to the Governor for his consideration.

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