State passes court budget with major reforms!

Together, SEIU court workers saved our courts from catastrophic cuts and reformed our entire branch. That’s something to be proud of! Now we need to stay focused and fight together at the local level to keep courts working for the public. —Joanne Hutton, judicial courtroom assistant, Kern County

The budget for the courts has been passed and signed, and SEIU won major reforms!

Here’s what our hardworking members achieved:

  • Landmark reform. We helped pass measures to sharply and clearly limit the Judicial Council’s discretion to spend funds allocated for trial courts. The Judicial Council cannot spend any money from the Trial Court Trust Fund without the approval of all the trial courts in the state and the legislature.
  • Reduced cuts by more than 50 percent. We reduced the cuts to courts from $844 million to $385 million, of which $235 million is expected to be offset by local reserves. In addition, the reforms we passed will mean that an estimated $100-200 million per year will be available for trial courts instead of the AOC’s priorities.
  •  Put solutions on the table. We helped craft and pass $559 million in solutions, including new fees, fund transfers, and more.

Protections for court reporters: 

  • We extended the court reporter fee to cover proceedings under an hour; this will help our local courts’ bottom line and thus incentivize the use of court reporters.
  • We also put an end to the unilateral imposition of word count reimbursement – which we have been fighting in 21 of our 33 jurisdictions statewide. The law requires each court to use the reimbursement methods in effect on January 1, 2012, and to negotiate any changes.

 

This is another victory for SEIU court workers and all those who believe access to justice is more important than preserving a bureaucracy.

Read more about the budget at Courthouse News.

Keep up with news at our courts blog, and sign up here to be the first to get court-related information from our union.

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