BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 2745
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          AB 2745 (Judiciary Committee)
          As Amended June 19, 2014
          Majority vote 
          |ASSEMBLY:  |76-0 |(May 27, 2014)  |SENATE: |33-0 |(August 19,    |
          |           |     |                |        |     |2014)          |
           Original Committee Reference:    JUD.  

           SUMMARY  :  Seeks to improve the handling of family and juvenile  
          law cases in our courts.  Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Ratifies the authority of the Judicial Council to convert 10  
            subordinate judicial officer (SJO) positions to judgeships in  
            2014-15, provided the conversion of these positions will  
            result in judges being assigned to family or juvenile law  
            assignments previously presided over by a subordinate judicial  
            officer.  Provides that this authority is in addition to the  
            existing authority provided to convert 16 SJOs to judges.

          2)Requires newly authorized judges to be allocated according to  
            uniform standards and criteria, as updated by the Judicial  

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

           The Senate amendments  permit the Judicial Council to update the  
          judicial needs study and the judicial allocation criteria,  
          consistent with legislation directive.
          EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Provides that the Legislature shall prescribe the number of  
            judges and provide for the officers and employees of each  
            superior court.  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 subordinate judicial  
            officers, and sets forth their duties and titles.  


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          3)Authorizes the conversion of 16 SJO positions in eligible  
            superior courts to judgeships each fiscal year as specified.   
            Authorizes the 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 judges being assigned to  
            family or juvenile law assignments previously presided over by  
            subordinate judicial officers, but requires that such  
            authority be ratified by the Legislature by statutory  

          4)Authorizes 50 additional judges to be allocated to the various  
            superior courts pursuant to uniform criteria adopted by the  
            Judicial Council, upon appropriation in the 2007-08 fiscal  
            year.  Requires that the uniform criteria for determining  
            additional judicial need take into account the following:  a)  
            court filings data averaged over a three-year period; b)  
            workload standards that represent the average amount of time  
            of bench and non-bench work required to resolve each case  
            type; and c) a ranking methodology that provides consideration  
            for courts that have the greatest need relative to their  
            current complement of judicial officers.

          5)Allows a court in a dissolution proceeding to order a family  
            centered case resolution plan, even in the absence of a  
            stipulation by the parties.  Clarifies that family centered  
            case resolution does not provide the court with any additional  
            authority to appoint an expert, beyond that permitted under  
            other provisions of law.  Directs Judicial Council, by January  
            1, 2012, to adopt a rule of court to implement family centered  
            case resolution.  But also allows Judicial Council, by rule,  
            to modify the case resolution procedures.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  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, and unknown  
          fiscal impact due to potential future increases in procedures  
          for family centered case resolution authorized to be implemented  
          by court rule.

           COMMENTS  :  This bill makes two non-controversial changes to  


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          family law.  First, as required by statute, the bill ratifies  
          the 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 provision seeks to  
          improve family and juvenile law cases by increasing the  
          likelihood that these matters are presided over by judges and  
          not subordinate judicial officers.  Second, it makes a technical  
          change to family centered case resolution law to ensure that the  
          existing law, passed by the Legislature in 2010, is followed.

          Analysis Prepared by  :  Leora Gershenzon / JUD. / (916) 319-2334 

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