Kentucky Family Court Budgets and Access

I am reposting, with permission, the below plea for action.  As I have mentioned before, the upcoming Budget, in Justice Minton’s words, cuts bone, not fat.  It is critically important that our Courts have the funding they need.  This email is from the Circuit Court, Family Division, Term and was forwarded by Judge Hagerty.  She also notes that a “hotline” is available at 1-800-372-7181, where you can leave a message for your State Senator and Representative.

“As you are aware, the Kentucky Legislature is in the process of approving a biennial budget, including one for the justice system.

The proposed budget cut for the overall judicial system budget is now 9% for the next two fiscal years (July 2016- June 2017 and July 2017- June 2018). You may have heard news reports and/or rumors about how these cuts may affect operations in the judicial system. We are reaching out to you to inform you of what these cuts, if implemented, will mean locally and to you and your clients specifically, and we are asking for your help in our efforts to stop these cuts being mandated by the Legislature.

As Chief Justice Minton has made clear, over eighty five percent of the Administrative Office of the Courts budget is staff. Budget cuts will require vacant positions going unfilled, layoffs and/or furlough days (days identified for courts and all court services to be closed and for all employees to go without pay). If Family Court is forced to deal with furlough days, those days will be days which are allocated for the divorce and custody cases to be scheduled. Our Courts have little or no flexibility with our domestic violence and child abuse/neglect docket scheduling, for obvious reasons, including time lines mandated by law. If we have staff attorney or administrative assistant positions go unfilled or laid off, that will absolutely mean a delay in scheduling hearings and preparing and processing court orders.

We have been told that the next 48 hours could be crucial for decisions regarding the budget, and certainly the next few weeks are. Please go to http://www.lrc.ky.gov/whoswho/county.htm , find Jefferson County, and contact your senators and representatives, asking them to support Chief Justice Minton’s budget, as proposed, or at the least, to exempt the Judicial Branch from the proposed cuts.  These cuts will affect you and your clients significantly”.

Please call and make your voice heard.  Thank You!