Clarified amendments strengthen AB1208

Posted on May 19, 2011


(Re)join the Fight & Make it Happen.

The original legislation tied to AB1208 was mostly gutted by the Assembly Judiciary Committee. What came out of that committee was implementing legislation that continued to give carte blanche to the AOC to take trial court funds under the authority of the Judicial Council. 

For those who are unfamiliar with the process, the implementing legislation can be amended at any time in the process. It is uncommon for implementing legislation to be significantly amended coming out of a committee but Speaker Perez and Assemblymember Calderon want to get something significant done this year. These new amendments broadly strengthen what was coming out of the judiciary committee. 

2011-2012 AB1208Charles Calderon (A) 

The people of the State of California do enact as follows: 

SECTION 1. Section 77202 of the Government Code is amended to read: 

77202. (a) The Legislature shall make an annual appropriation to the Judicial Council for the general operations of the trial courts based on the request of the Judicial Council. The Judicial Council’s trial court budget request, which shall be submitted to the Governor and the Legislature, shall meet the needs of all trial courts in a manner that ensures a predictable fiscal environment for labor negotiations in accordance with the Trial Court Employment Protection and Governance Act (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 71600) of Title 8), that promotes equal access to the courts statewide, and that promotes court financial accountability. The annual budget request shall include the following components: 

(1) Commencing with the 2006–07 fiscal year, annual General Fund appropriations to support the trial courts shall be comprised of both of the following: 

(A) The current fiscal year General Fund appropriations, which include all of the following: 

(i) General Fund moneys appropriated for transfer or direct local assistance in support of the trial courts. 

(ii) Transfers to the Judicial Administration Efficiency and Modernization Fund.

(iii) Local assistance grants made by the Judicial Council, including the Equal Access Fund.

(iv) The full year cost of budget change proposals approved through the 2006–07 fiscal year or subsequently approved in accordance with paragraph (2), but excluding lease-revenue payments and funding for costs specifically and expressly reimbursed through other state or federal funding sources, excluding the cost of one-time or expiring programs.

(B) A cost-of-living and growth adjustment computed by multiplying the year-to-year percentage change in the state appropriation limit as described in Section 3 of Article XIIIB of the California Constitution by the sum of all of the following: 

(i) The current year General Fund appropriations for the trial courts, as defined in subparagraph (A). 

(ii) The amount of county obligations established pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 77201.1 in effect as of June 30, 2005, six hundred ninety-eight million sixty-eight thousand dollars ($698,068,000). 

(iii) The level of funding required to be transferred from the Trial Court Improvement Fund to the Trial Court Trust Fund pursuant to subdivision (k) of Section 77209, thirty-one million five hundred sixty-three thousand dollars ($31,563,000). 

(iv) Funding deposited into the Court Facilities Trust Fund associated with each facility that was transferred to the state not less than two fiscal years earlier than the fiscal year for which the cost-of-living and growth adjustment is being calculated. 

(v) The court filing fees and surcharges projected to be deposited into the Trial Court Trust Fund in the 2005–06 fiscal year, adjusted to reflect the full-year implementation of the uniform civil fee structure implemented on January 1, 2006, three hundred sixty-nine million six hundred seventy-two thousand dollars ($369,672,000). 

(2) In addition to the moneys to be applied pursuant to subdivision (b) (c), the Judicial Council may identify and request additional funding for the trial courts for costs resulting from the implementation of statutory changes that result in either an increased level of service or a new activity that directly affects the programmatic or operational needs of the courts. 

(b) (1) Based on the information submitted in the Governor’s proposed budget, and prior to the allocation of funds to each local trial court in accordance with the allocation schedule adopted by the Judicial Council pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 77200, the Legislature shall specify, in each annual Budget Act, the funding amounts to be allocated for programs of statewide concern from the total funds appropriated for trial court operations by the Legislature. For purposes of this paragraph, programs of statewide concern operate in the superior courts of multiple counties and may include, but shall not be limited to, equal access, court-appointed special counsel, family law information centers, model self-help, assigned judges, information technology, and administrative infrastructure. (such as continued funding for a uniform statewide accounting system). 

(2) The Judicial Council and/or its designee is hereby required to allocate 100% of the funds appropriated for trial court operations, as designated in the budget under 45.10 – Support for Operation of Trial Courts, according to each court’s share of statewide operational funding as herein stated.  For purposes of adjusting actual cost increases for individual courts, Judicial Council may submit a request to the Legislature of any amount of funding that it recommends to set aside for statewide court operation needs, including but not limited to retirement costs, additional judgeships, and employee benefits.  The request shall include the purpose of such set asides to promote statewide policies, promote court efficiencies and to achieve cost savings in court operations.  Legislative approval is required before any proposed set aside funds are re-directed and expended. 

(4)  Notwithstanding any other law, the Judicial Council, or its designee, shall not withhold or expend any portion of the total funds appropriated for trial court operations, as designated in the budget under 45.10 – Support for Operation of Trial Courts, by the Legislature for any statewide information technology or administrative infrastructure program, including existing projects such as the California Case Management System, that was not identified in the annual Budget Act, unless the Judicial Council, or its designee, first obtains the written approval of 662/3 percent of a proportional representation of all local trial courts. For purposes of this paragraph, proportional representation shall be calculated according to the number of judges in the superior court of each county as a percentage of the total number of judges authorized by Section 4 of Article VI of the California Constitution in all county superior courts statewide.


 (c) Beginning on fiscal year 2011-2012, and for each fiscal year thereafter, each trial court’s allocation of the amount appropriated for trial court operations, as designated under 45.10 – Support for Operation of Trial Courts, shall be equal to the pro rata share of the prior fiscal year’s adjusted base budget, less the security base should realignment occur.  Any workload or technical adjustments to a trial court’s base budgets made subsequent to enactment of the annual budget act shall be allocated separately from that year’s trial court operation fund and shall be incorporated into the trial courts base budget, adjusting the pro rata share, for the following fiscal year.  Except for Modernization Fund and Improvement Fund, at the end of each fiscal year, any unspent funds allocated pursuant to subdivision (b) shall be distributed to each court based upon its pro rata share determined pursuant to this subdivision (c).

(d) (1) The Judicial Council shall adopt policies and procedures governing practices and procedures for budgeting in the trial courts in a manner that best ensures the ability of the courts to carry out their functions and may delegate the adoption to the Administrative Director of the Courts. The Administrative Director of the Courts shall establish budget procedures and an annual schedule of budget development and management consistent with these rules.

(2) Each trial court may transfer funds, once budgeted and allocated, between functions or line items or programs as directed by that court’s trial court management, provided that such transfers are in accord with statute.  The trial court policies and procedures shall specify the process for a court to transfer existing funds between or among the budgeted program components to reflect changes in the court’s planned operation or to correct technical errors. If the process requires a trial court to request a specific transfer of existing funds, the Administrative Office of the Courts shall  make such transfers and notify the Department of Finance, the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the Legislature’s budget committees, and the court’s affected labor organizations.

(3) The Judicial Council shall circulate for comment to all affected entities any amendments proposed to the trial court policies and procedures as they relate to budget monitoring and reporting. Final changes shall be adopted at a meeting of the Judicial Council.

SEC. 2. Section 77207 of the Government Code is amended to read:

77207. The Legislature shall appropriate trial court funding. The Controller shall apportion trial court funding payments to the courts as provided in Section 68085 pursuant to an allocation schedule adopted by the Judicial Council, and consistent with subdivision (b) of Section 77202.

SEC. 3. Subsections (a)(1) and (a)(2)(A) and (B) of section 68085 of the Government Code, are amended to read:

(a)(1) There is hereby established the Trial Court Trust Fund, the proceeds of which shall be apportioned for the purposes authorized in this section, including apportionment to the trial courts to fund trial court operations, as defined in Section 77003.

(2) The apportionment payments shall be made by the Controller. The final payment from the Trial Court Trust Fund for each fiscal year shall be made on or before August 31 of the subsequent fiscal year.


SEC. 4.  Government Code section 68502.5 is amended to read:

(a) The Judicial Council may, as part of its trial court budget process, seek input from groups and individuals as it deems appropriate including, but not limited to, advisory committees and the Administrative Director of the Courts. The trial court budget process may include, but is not limited to, the following:

(1) The receipt of budget requests from the trial courts.

(2) The review of the trial courts’ budget requests and evaluate them against performance criteria established by the Judicial Council by which a court’s performance, and efficiency can be measured.

(3) The annual adoption of the projected cost in the subsequent fiscal year of court operations as defined in Section 77003 for each trial court. This estimation shall serve as a basis for recommended court budgets, which shall be developed for comparison purposes and to delineate funding responsibilities.

(4) The annual approval of a schedule for the allocation of moneys to individual courts as stated in section 77202 and an overall trial court budget for forwarding to the Governor for inclusion in the Governor’s proposed State Budget. The  overall trial court budget shall be based on the performance criteria established pursuant to paragraph (2), on a minimum standard established by the Judicial Council for the operation and staffing of all trial court operations, and on any other factors as determined by the Judicial Council. This minimum standard shall be modeled on court operations using all reasonable and available measures to increase court efficiency. The  overall trial court budget shall assure that all trial courts receive funding for the minimum operating and staffing standards before funding operating and staffing requests above the minimum standards,

(5) The allocation of funds in the Trial Court Improvement Fund to ensure equal access to trial courts by the public, to improve trial court operations, and to meet trial court emergencies.

(6) Upon approval of the trial courts’ budget by the Legislature, the preparation during the course of the fiscal year of allocation schedules for payments to the trial courts, consistent with Section 68085, which shall be submitted to the Controller’s office at least 15 days before the due date of any allocation. 

(7) The establishment of  procedures for a  court to report its exercise of authority to transfer trial court funding moneys from one functional category to another in order to address needs in any functional category. 

(9) At the request of the presiding judge of a trial court, an independent review of the funding level of the court to determine whether it is adequate to enable the court to discharge its statutory and constitutional responsibilities. 

(10) From time to time, a review of the level of fees charged by the courts for various services and prepare recommended adjustments for forwarding to the Legislature. 

(11) Provisions set forth in rules adopted pursuant to Section 77206 of the Government Code. 

(b) Courts and counties shall establish procedures to allow for the sharing of information as it relates to approved budget proposals and expenditures that impact the respective court and county budgets. The procedures shall include, upon the request of a court or county, that a respective court or county shall provide the requesting court or county a copy of its approved budget and, to the extent possible, approved program expenditure component information and a description of budget changes that are anticipated to have an impact on the requesting court or county. The Judicial Council shall provide to the Legislature on December 31, 2001, and yearly thereafter, budget expenditure data at the program component level for each court. 

SEC. 5.  Government Code section 77203 is amended to read: 

A trial court  may carry unexpended funds over from one fiscal year to the next  and those funds shall be the funds of that court, and shall not be reallocated or redirected without the consent of the court’s trial court management. 

SEC. 6. Subsection (a) of the Government Code section 77206 is amended to read:

 (a) The Judicial Council may regulate the budget and fiscal management of the trial courts. The Judicial Council, in consultation with the Controller, shall maintain appropriate regulations for recordkeeping and accounting by the courts. The Judicial Council shall seek to ensure, by these provisions, both of the following: 

SEC. 7. Subsection (c) of the Government Code section 77009 is amended to read: 

(c) Moneys deposited into a bank account established pursuant to subdivision (a) for the Trial Court Operations Fund that are appropriated in the Budget Act and allocated or reallocated to any trial court  shall be payable only for the purposes set forth in Sections 77003 and 77006.5, and for services purchased by the court pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (c) of Section 77212.  

SEC. 8.  Government Code section 77006.5 is amended to read: 

As used in this chapter, “trial court funding” means the amount of state funds provided for the operation of the trial courts, as defined in Section 77003, appropriated in the Budget Act, and allocated or reallocated by  law. 

SEC. 9.  Government Code section 77200 is amended to read: 

On and after July 1, 1997, the state shall assume sole responsibility for the funding of court operations, as defined in Section 77003 and Rule 10.810 of the California Rules of Court as it read on January 1, 2007. In meeting this responsibility, the state shall do all of the following:  

(a) Deposit in the Trial Court Trust Fund, for subsequent allocation to or for the trial courts, all county funds remitted to the state pursuant to Section 77201 until June 30, 1998, pursuant to Section 77201.1 from July 1, 1998, until June 30, 2006, inclusive, and pursuant to Section 77201.3, thereafter.

(b) Be responsible for the cost of court operations incurred by the trial courts in the 1997-98 fiscal year and subsequent fiscal years. 

(c) Allocate funds to the individual trial courts pursuant to an allocation schedule  as set forth in section 77202, but in no case shall the amount allocated to the trial court in a county be less than the amount remitted to the state by the county in which that court is located pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 77201 until June 30, 1998, pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 77201.1 from July 1, 1998, until June 30, 2006, inclusive, and pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 77201.3, thereafter. 

(d) The Judicial Council shall submit its allocation schedule to the Controller at least five days before the due date of any allocation.


The attachment with notes – Amendments AB 1208


The next step for AB1208 is the Assembly Committee on Appropriations. While there is currently no hearing scheduled, that hearing should take place some time next week. Your contact information for the Assembly Appropriations Committee is as follows:

Committee Members District Phone E-mail
    Felipe Fuentes – Chair
Dem-39 (916) 319-2039
    Diane L. Harkey – Vice Chair
Rep-73 916) 319-2073
    Bob Blumenfield
Dem-40 (916) 319-2040
    Steven Bradford
Dem-51 (916) 319-2051
    Charles M. Calderon
Dem-58 (916) 319-2058
    Nora Campos
Dem-23 (916) 319-2023
    Mike Davis
Dem-48 (916) 319-2048
    Tim Donnelly
Rep-59 (916) 319-2059
    Mike Gatto
Dem-43 (916) 319-2043
    Isadore Hall III
Dem-52 (916) 319-2052
    Jerry Hill
Dem-19 (916) 319-2019
    Ricardo Lara
Dem-50 (916) 319-2050
    Holly J. Mitchell
Dem-47 (916) 319-2047
    Jim Nielsen
Rep-2 (916) 319-2002
    Chris Norby
Rep-72 (916) 319-2072
    Jose Solorio
Dem-69 (916) 319-2069
    Donald P. Wagner
Rep-70 (916) 319-2070
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