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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: May 23, 2017 03:54 PM
From: Representative Harold A. English
To: All House members
Subject: Senior Judge Operational Support Grant Sunset
The statutory authorization of senior judge support grants from AOPC to the counties is set to expire on June 30, 2017. This program is used to partially reimburse counties for expenses that they incur to support senior judges in the courts of common pleas.

Senior judges are judges who have retired from full-time, active service, but are sometimes assigned to the common pleas courts for temporary judicial service. Judges with their lengthy experience and understanding of the system give them the flexibility to be used for short or long-term assignments anywhere in the Commonwealth. Senior judges help to ease court backlogs in targeted areas that need additional support, and they fill in when there is an unexpected judicial vacancy, or a conflict of interest that requires a recusal. The ability to move around the Commonwealth and take temporary assignments makes it significantly more cost effective to use senior judges than to hire additional full-time judges.

Finally, if this funding expires, the counties – that is, property taxpayers – will be forced to take on the burden of funding for senior judges or potentially adding full-time judges. This grant program has been in place since 2001, and the authorization has been extended twice since.

I am extending this for an additional five year period of time.

I ask you to join me in sponsoring the legislation to extend this sunset.

Introduced as HB1451