Kansas Courts Begin Friday Furloughs

By: 13 News
By: 13 News

Topeka (WIBW) - In what judicial officials say was an unprecedented move, the Kansas court system shut down Friday.

It's the first of four Friday furloughs.

At the Shawnee County Courthouse Friday, the doors were open and judges were in their offices, but there were no hearings and there was no staff on hand for people to do thing like pay fines or get a marriage license.

State budget problems forced the action. Nearly 1500 nonjudicial staff will take involuntary unpaid leave Friday, as well as April 16th and 23rd and May 7th. The shutdown will save the state $220,000 each day.

Judge Mark Braun says the Judicial branch is the only branch to be impacted by state budget cuts in this way, mainly because their costs are largely staffing. He says the employees are dedicated and work hard, and are being hurt by missing pay.

Shawnee County offices inside the courthouse, such as the treasurer's office and district attorney's office, are open during the furloughs.

The situation was better than initially expected, however. An initial plan for dealing with budget cuts announced last May hinted at up to 30 days of furloughs. The courts have been on a hiring freeze since 2008.

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