AB1208 is gutted

Posted on May 3, 2011


Breaking Story-

Following a critical analysis of AB1208 by judiciary committee legislative analyst Drew Liebert that was released yesterday, Assemblymember Calderon in essence re-wrote and re-presented AB1208 to the assembly judiciary committee this morning. The final language that appears to be moving out of the committee is the following:

AB1208 (As amended…)

1)Clarifies that based on information submitted in the Governor’s proposed budget, the Legislature shall continue to specify, in each annual Budget Act, funding amounts for programs of statewide concern to come from all funds appropriated by the Legislature for trial court operations prior to allocating funds to each local trial court.

2)Allow the Judicial Council and/or its designee to withhold portions of all funds appropriated by the Legislature for trial court operations for statewide information technology and administrative infrastructure expenses only after obtaining written approval from 66 2/3 % of a proportional representation of        all local trial courts, if such programs were not identified in the annual Budget Act.


Judges Lampe and White and MacLaughlin all spoke eloquently about the need for AB1208 as it existed before the amendments. The amendments were made to placate a critical analysis of the bill that was released just yesterday. Assemblymember Calderon called it correct when he suggested that these pre-amended reforms are the minimum of reforms that are required to avoid all out war in the judiciary, aptly pointing out that our chief justice and her various committees are ignoring or are not commissioned to deal with the real problems.

Ron (Why does he still have a job) Overholt and Terry (You really have no place in this discussion) Friedman represented the opposition decrying the use of a legitimate legislative process to address JC/AOC malfeasance. Where else are people to go except to those who make the laws?

A cadre of mis-informed groups were opposed to it primarily because they see this as putting CCMS and court rules in jeopardy and Michelle Castro of the SEIU was neutral on it because it does not do enough. Obviously, this legislation does not go far enough and isn’t the legal ease of underlying changes in legislation. Let’s see what comes of it but we’re not too comfortable with the developments of the last 24 hours. Maybe stakeholders can fold in the opposition supporters and neutrals to find out what needs to be done to gain their support, resolve the issues and get this bill back to the committee?

We wish to commend Assemblymember Calderon for his efforts and his argument. He plainly sees the problem. Let’s work on a resolution that won’t elude him.