Snyder signs legislation to streamline judgeships

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation to eliminate judgeships in certain areas to reflect changes in caseloads and population shifts.

Following the recommendations put forward biennially by the State Court Administrative Office, the bills will eliminate judgeships in districts identified as having more judges than necessary.

The judgeships will be eliminated only by attrition--when a current judge vacates office through retirement or death, voluntarily chooses not to seek re-election or is constitutionally ineligible for re-election due to age.

The efficiencies are expected to save taxpayers more than $2 million annually.

"We're always working to make government as efficient and effective as possible," Snyder said.

"Realigning our judgeships to reflect factors such as population shifts ensures good customer service and fiscal accountability."

The bipartisan package includes eight bills:

* House Bill 5073, sponsored by state Rep. Kevin Cotter, eliminates one district judgeship in both Lansing and Flint.

* H.B. 5074, sponsored by state Rep. Pat Somerville, eliminates one district judgeship in Shiawassee County.

* H.B. 5075, sponsored by state Rep. Peter Pettalia, eliminates one district judgeship that covers Lake and Mason counties and one circuit judgeship that covers Newaygo and Oceana counties.

* H.B. 5093, sponsored by state Rep. John Walsh, eliminates one district judgeship in both Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.

* H.B. 5094, sponsored by state Rep. Stacy Erwin Oakes, eliminates one district judgeship in Otsego County, one that covers Alpena and Montmorency counties and one that covers Cheboygan and Presque Isle counties.

* H.B. 5095, sponsored by state Rep. Roy Schmidt, eliminates one district judgeship in Menominee County.

* H.B. 5106, sponsored by state Rep. Phil Cavanagh, eliminates one circuit judgeship in Marquette County.

* H.B. 5107, sponsored by state Rep. Peter Pettalia, eliminates one district judgeship in Midland County.

The bills now are Public Acts 16-23 of 2012.

Visit www.legislature.mi.gov for additional information on the bills.

Published: Fri, Feb 24, 2012

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