BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó


          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                       AB 2745|
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                                    THIRD READING

          Bill No:  AB 2745
          Author:   Assembly Judiciary Committee  
          Amended:  6/19/14 in Senate
          Vote:     21

           SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE  :  6-0, 6/17/14
          AYES:  Jackson, Corbett, Lara, Leno, Monning, Vidak
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Anderson
          SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  5-0, 8/14/14
          AYES:  De León, Hill, Lara, Padilla, Steinberg
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Walters, Gaines
          ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  76-0, 5/27/14 - See last page for vote

           SUBJECT  :    Courts

           SOURCE  :     Author

           DIGEST  :    This bill authorizes the Judicial Council to convert  
          10 subordinate judicial officer (SJO) positions to judgeships in  
          the 2014-2015 year, if the conversion will result in a judge  
          being assigned to a family law or juvenile law assignment, as  
          specified.  This bill also authorizes the Judicial Council to  
          increase the procedures for family centered case resolution.

           ANALYSIS :    

          Existing law: 



                                                                    AB 2745

          1.Provides that the Legislature shall prescribe the number of  
            judges and provide for the officers and employees of each  
            superior court, and provides that the Legislature may provide  
            for the trial courts to appoint officers such as commissioners  
            to perform subordinate judicial duties.   

          2.Authorizes the courts to appoint SJOs, and sets forth their  
            duties and titles.  

          3.Authorizes the conversion of 16 SJO positions in eligible  
            superior courts to judgeships each fiscal year as specified.   
            Further, it authorizes Judicial Council to convert up to an  
            additional 10 SJOs to judgeships each year, upon vacancy and  
            subsequent legislative authorization, if the conversion of  
            these additional positions will result in a judge being  
            assigned to a family or juvenile law assignment previously  
            presided over by an SJO, but requires that such authority be  
            ratified by the Legislature by statutory enactment.  

          This bill ratifies the authority of the Judicial Council to  
          convert 10 SJOs positions to judgeships in 2014-2015, provided  
          the conversion of these positions result in judges being  
          assigned to family or juvenile law assignments previously  
          presided over by a SJO, and provides that this authority is in  
          addition to the existing authority provided to convert 16 SJOs  
          to judges.

          In a 2010 report, Judicial Council analyzed the need for more  
          judges in California's courts.  Judicial Council compared the  
          amount of judges necessary for court operation with the amount  
          of judicial positions authorized and funded, and determined that  
          there was a shortfall of 14%.  Existing law permits litigants to  
          stipulate to the use of an attorney, appointed by the trial  
          court, to serve as a temporary judge to preside over their  
          matter.  These temporary judges are known as SJOs.  According to  
          Judicial Council, the current shortfall in available judges has  
          led to SJOs spending an average of 55% of their time working as  
          temporary judges, and in large courts, that number approaches  
          75% to 80%.  This bill, which, in part, is nearly identical to  
          SB 405 (Corbett, Chapter 705, Statutes of 2011) and last year's  
          AB 1403 (Assembly Judiciary Committee, Chapter 510, Statutes of  
          2013) seeks to ensure that a greater number of family and  



                                                                    AB 2745

          juvenile law cases are presided over by judges, rather than  
          SJOs.  Accordingly, this bill ratifies Judicial Council's  
          authority to convert 10 SJOs to judgeships in the next year,  
          provided those judges replace SJOs in family or juvenile law  
          cases.  This bill also allows Judicial Council to increase the  
          procedures for family centered case resolution set forth in  

           Prior/Related Legislation
          SB 1190 (Jackson, 2014) would have authorized an additional 50  
          judges, funded a prior set of 50 judges, and increased the  
          number of justices from seven to nine in the Fourth Appellate  
          District Court of Appeal.  This bill was held under submission  
          in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

          AB 159 (Jones, Chapter 722, Statutes of 2007) permitted upon  
          legislative authorization, the conversion of up to 162 existing  
          subordinate SJO positions to judgeships in eligible superior  
          courts upon a vacancy of an SJO position, provided that no more  
          than 16 subordinate judicial officer positions may be converted  
          in any calendar year.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
          Local:  No

          According to the Senate Appropriations Committee:

           Annual costs of up to $300,000 (General Fund*) for the  
            conversion of 10 SJOs to judgeships, based on the salary and  
            benefit differential of the two positions.  The Judicial  
            Council has indicated these costs will be funded through the  
            reallocation of funds in the Trial Court Trust Fund.

           Unknown fiscal impact due to potential future increases in  
            procedures for family centered case resolution authorized to  
            be implemented by court rule.

          *Trial Court Trust Fund.

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/13/14)

          Judicial Council of California



                                                                    AB 2745

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author, "The Judicial  
          Council has identified family and juvenile law cases as among  
          those most important for judges, rather than SJOs, to preside  
          over.  Unlike judges, SJOs are not directly accountable to the  
          public.  Unfortunately, due to the shortages of judges, SJOs  
          today are performing some of the most complex and sensitive  
          judicial duties, including presiding over family and juvenile  
          law matters.  Conversion of these positions to judgeships when  
          they become vacant makes them both more accountable to the  
          public and helps provide better trust and confidence in the  

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  76-0, 5/27/14
          AYES:  Achadjian, Alejo, Allen, Ammiano, Bigelow, Bloom,  
            Bocanegra, Bonilla, Bonta, Bradford, Brown, Buchanan, Ian  
            Calderon, Campos, Chau, Chávez, Chesbro, Conway, Cooley,  
            Dababneh, Dahle, Daly, Dickinson, Eggman, Fong, Fox, Frazier,  
            Beth Gaines, Garcia, Gatto, Gomez, Gonzalez, Gordon, Gorell,  
            Gray, Grove, Hagman, Hall, Harkey, Roger Hernández, Holden,  
            Jones, Jones-Sawyer, Levine, Linder, Logue, Lowenthal,  
            Maienschein, Mansoor, Medina, Melendez, Mullin, Muratsuchi,  
            Nazarian, Nestande, Olsen, Pan, Perea, John A. Pérez, V.  
            Manuel Pérez, Quirk, Rendon, Ridley-Thomas, Rodriguez, Salas,  
            Skinner, Stone, Ting, Wagner, Waldron, Weber, Wieckowski,  
            Wilk, Williams, Yamada, Atkins
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Donnelly, Patterson, Quirk-Silva, Vacancy

          AL:k  8/16/14   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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