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House budget for courts: How it compares

Courts in crisisThe House released its proposed 2015-2017 budget this morning with some good news for the courts: an infusion of more than $18 million to finally bring the state judicial system into the digital age.

That’s way more than the $5 million former Administrative Office of the Courts director John Smith requested for technology for in his February letter to state budget director Lee Roberts.

The governor had no funding for technology in his proposed budget.

The court system would also get a much-needed boost in its operating budget — technology aside — with $15.6 million allotted over two years to cover things such as interpreters, expert witnesses, juries and other “constitutionally and legally mandated legal services as necessary to operate the State court system.”

Here’s what AOC chief legal counsel Tom Murry says the latter category includes:

Murry

That amount aligns closely with what Judge Smith and the governor had requested ($15.9 million and $16 million respectively).

One glaring omission from both the House and the governor’s budget?  Funding to bring court system staffing up to workload needs — 536 new positions, according the AOC request.

Here’s a snapshot of the House proposal:

House judicial budget

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