Testimony of Judge Barbara M. Quinn, Chief Court
Administrator Judiciary Committee Public Hearing, March 26, 2009
Senate Bill 1157, An Act Concerning Funding for Legal
Services and Judicial Branch Technology
The Judicial Branch supports Senate Bill 1157,
An Act Concerning Funding
for Legal Services and Judicial Branch Technology. By way of background, the
Judicial Branch worked with the Committee to identify fee increases that
would provide significant revenue, with the understanding that the revenue
generated would be used to fund legal services organizations and Judicial
Branch technology. These are the fee increases included in this proposal.
The economic downturn has contributed to a funding crisis for legal
services organizations of unprecedented proportions. Access to justice in
the courts is a critical component of our system of justice and many of our
states citizens suffer significant deprivations when it cannot be provided.
Chief Justice Chase Rogers has adopted as one of the five overarching goals
of the Strategic Plan for the Judicial Branch securing access to the courts
for all. We have been working closely with bar leaders to assist in the
efforts to secure such funding. The proposed fee increases would provide
such assistance and we ask you to consider them favorably.
The Judicial Branch also has significant needs in the area of information
technology. In recent years, the Judicial Branch has received only limited
funding for our information technology (IT) systems. Yet, at the same time,
more and more demands are being put on those systems. The public and other
state agencies rely on the currency and accuracy of the information we take
in, store and disseminate. The residents of our state assume that public
information is available on the internet around the clock. Other state
agencies rely on the information that is provided to them by the courts each
day, particularly in the areas of criminal matters and protective and
restraining orders. All this information must be maintained and kept current
on a daily basis. This is particularly important during this time of fiscal
crisis, as technology becomes even more critical during times of dwindling
resources. This bill, by providing the Judicial Branch with a funding stream
dedicated to maintaining our information technology systems, would greatly
assist us both at the present time and in the future.
In conclusion, this bill would significantly benefit the residents of our
state, both by providing funding for legal services organizations and by
ensuring the currency and accuracy of the information that flows through and
from our court system. I urge the Committee to act favorably on this
Thank you for your consideration.