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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 17, 2014 04:57 PM
From: Representative Thomas R. Caltagirone
To: All House members
Subject: Constitutional Amendment providing for Financial Accountability, Dedicated Funding and Operational Efficiencies within the Judicial Branch of Government.
In the near future, I plan to introduce a Joint Resolution amending the Constitution of the Commonwealth to provide dedicated funding for the judicial branch of government. The dedicated funds would come from fees, charges and other monies already being collected by the courts. As stewards of these limited taxpayer resources, I believe it is my solemn duty to balance the interests of the taxpayers with the needs of government, including the judiciary.

This constitutional amendment will give the Supreme Court discretion in spending but demands operational efficiencies by limiting any surplus to no more than 3% of the total operating budget of the judiciary. Moreover, if the judiciary is unable to agree on an annual budget they will be bound by the previous year’s budget less 3%. This constitutional amendment also includes a hold harmless clause for the general fund; all funds collected by the judiciary above their budgetary needs will automatically transfer to the general fund. To that end, my proposal will improve the operations of the judiciary by guaranteeing continued open access to the courts so that civil matters are quickly heard and criminal offenders face the full weight of justice in a timely manner.

By adopting this constitutional amendment we can streamline our own budget process and provide a co-equal branch of government with the funding it needs to serve and protect our communities. My constitutional amendment imposes fiscal discipline on the judiciary while still providing them with the tools they need to deliver justice to all citizens. It is my sincere hope that you will join me and support this very important Constitutional Amendment.


Introduced as HB320