Budget Approved Means Court Furloughs Canceled

Chief Justice Lawton Nuss announced Monday that the legislature appropriated enough funding to keep the courtroom doors open.

Hon. Lawton Nuss

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - With state lawmakers approving additional funding for the Kansas courts before heading home, four remaining days of statewide court closures and court employees unpaid furloughs have been canceled.

Chief Justice Lawton Nuss made the announcement Monday. He says the legislature appropriated enough funding to keep the courtroom doors open. Nuss says court will be in session this Thursday and Friday, as well as June 7th and 8th. The $1.1 million in supplemental funding has been rolled into the legislative appropriation bill for FY 2013, which begins July 1.

“My colleagues and I wanted you to receive this message as soon as possible," Nuss wrote in a letter to court workers Monday, informing them of the decision. "While technically the funds are not assured until Governor Brownback signs the budget bill, I am confident a bill will be signed."

Despite the decision to keep courts open, Nuss said trials and hearings previously scheduled for Thursday and Friday, then canceled for lack of funds, should not be expected to return to their original date. He said that the required presence of many lawsuit participants such as witnesses, lawyers, parties, and potential
jurors make it difficult to conduct them on such short notice. Nuss said the KansasJudicial Branch “is like an aircraft carrier underway in the open sea, not like a bass boat on a Kansas fishing lake” and cannot be turned quickly.

Courts were closed statewide, and employees were sent home without pay, April 13th, after legislators took no action on a supplemental funding request before their spring break.

The decision to keep court open affects nearly 1600 state court employees.

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