California’s trial courts are set to receive an extra $60 million in the new state budget that takes effect next month. The money is designated to help improve access to courts that have slashed hours and resources or shut down completely. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.
The $60 million is not much compared to the half billion dollars in cuts California’s trial courts have endured over the past years. But Courts Administrative Director Judge Steven Jahr says it’s an initial step toward restoring funding. Still, he says with all of the 58 trial courts under some financial strain, tough choices will have to be made.
“So the question is, which ones are underfunded versus woefully underfunded. The allocation formula is designed to provide a greater level of assistance to those that are woefully underfunded,” says Jahr.
Jahr says the money must be used to improve access to the courts. That could include a range of actions, from providing staff to speed up mediation hearings to extending court hours.