BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 2745
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 30, 2014

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                                  Mike Gatto, Chair

             AB 2745 (Committee on Judiciary) - As Introduced:  March 4,  
                                        2014

          Policy Committee:                               
          JudiciaryVote:10-0

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          No     Reimbursable:               

           SUMMARY  

          This bill:

          1)Ratifies the authority of the Judicial Council to, in 2014-15,  
            convert 10 subordinate judicial officers (SJOs) to judgeships  
            assigned to family or juvenile law.

          2)Allows the Judicial Council, by rule of court, to increase,  
            but not reduce, the procedures for family centered case  
            resolution currently set forth in statute.

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          Annual cost of up to $270,000 for conversion of up to 10 SJOs to  
          judgeships.  For each conversion of an SJO position to a  
          judgeship, the additional annual cost, based on salary  
          differences between the two positions, is approximately $27,000.  
          The Judicial Council indicates that these additional costs will  
          be funded through a reallocation of monies in the Trial Court  
          Trust Fund.

           COMMENTS  

           1)Background and Purpose  . According to the Judicial Council, SJO  
            positions were historically created and funded at the county  
            level to address courts' needs for judicial-like resources  
            when new judgeships were pending or not yet authorized by the  
            Legislature.  Unlike judges, SJOs are not directly accountable  
            to the public, but due to the shortages of judges, are  
            performing some of the most complex and sensitive judicial  








                                                                  AB 2745
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            duties.  Conversion of these positions to judgeships when they  
            become vacant makes them both more accountable to the public  
            and, the author contends, helps provide better trust and  
            confidence in the courts.

            AB 159 (Jones)/Statutes of 2007, in addition to authorizing 50  
            additional trial court judgeships, authorized the conversion  
            of 162 SJOs to judgeships, with a cap of 16 conversions per  
            year and subject to Legislative authorization through the  
            budget, which has occurred each year. On top of these 162  
            positions, AB 2763 (Feuer)/Statutes of 2010, authorized  
            conversion of an additional 10 SJO positions per year to  
            judgeships, but only to fill SJO vacancies in a family law or  
            juvenile law assignments in order to address shortages of  
            judges in these areas. (The Judicial Council and other parties  
            have identified family and juvenile law matters among those  
            that are of such a nature as to require judges, rather than  
            SJOs, to preside over them whenever possible.)

            AB 2745 fulfills the requirement in AB 2763 that the  
            conversion of 10 SJOs be ratified by statutory enactment other  
            than the Budget Act.

            The bill also makes a technical cleanup to family centered  
            case resolution procedures, to ensure that the statute  
            codified in 2010 cannot be reduced by rule of court.

           2)Related Legislation  . SB 1190 (Jackson), pending in Senate  
            Judiciary, authorizes two additional appellate court judges  
            and 50 additional trial court judges.

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Chuck Nicol / APPR. / (916) 319-2081