Here’s a quick rundown of courts-related bills filed in the General Assembly this session:
HB 161  Provides magistrates are subject to same mandatory retirement age as judges, but applies only to those becoming magistrates after January 2015. Passed House, in Senate Committee on Pensions.
HB 199  Increases district court civil jurisdiction from $10,000 to $25,000. Passed House, in Senate Rules Committee.
HB 246 (Constitutional Amendment)  Provides a person with concealed carry permit may carry anywhere in state except in limited, specified locations including a courthouse. In House Rules Committee.
HB 397  Expands eligibility for District Court Judgeship to include elected sheriffs with 10 year experience; clerks of superior court with 10 years experience; magistrates with 10 years experience; anyone with 25 years law enforcement experience. In House Rules Committee.
HB 405  Allows judges to carry firearms anywhere in state. In House Judiciary Committee.
HB 416  Increases small claims from $5,000 to $10,000. Approved by House, in Senate Judiciary Committee.
HB 451 , entitled “Election Omnibus” deletes Article 22D of Chapter 163 , the public financing system and returns state judicial races to the list of races to be held on a partisan basis. It also shortens the early voting period, eliminates straight-party voting, and eliminates same-day voter registration. In House Committee on Elections.
HB 461  Modifies repeals restriction on travel reimbursement for trial judges to travel within the county. In House Judiciary Committee.
HB 820  Abolishes Courts Commission. In House Judiciary Committee.
SB 360 (Constitutional Amendment)  Retains contested elections for judges’ for initial terms. Provides for yes/no retention elections for subsequent terms. In Senate Rules Committee.
SB 528  Clarifies juror oath. Passed Senate, in House Judiciary Committee.
SB 685  Generally allows judges, magistrates, and clerks of court to carry firearms anywhere in the state. In Senate Rules Committee.
SB 699 (Constitutional Amendment) Changes judicial elections. Provides nominating commission to give two names to governor to select from when vacancy occurs. Provides governor to pick one person, but that both are automatically to appear in next election. In Senate Rules Committee.