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Most judicial vacancies, VSB budget restored

The initial word from the Senate Finance Committee staff is that House and Senate budget conferees have agreed to appropriate $3.72 million to fill judicial vacancies, to leave the Virginia State Bar budget intact and to fund the state’s drug courts.

Details of the budget were not available this morning as the committee staff worked to produce a printed version of the budget that the full House and Senate could vote on as early as this afternoon.

The Senate had proposed spending $4.8 million to fill all the vacancies that were frozen in the 2010 session of the the General Assembly and taking $2.5 million from the VSB budget. It also would have funded drug courts.

The House starting position was continuing the freeze, leaving the VSB budget intact and cutting $2.95 million that would have financed 14 drug courts.

Gov. Bob McDonnell had proposed taking $5 million from the VSB and restoring $1.7 million to reflect that fewer judges had left the bench than the legislature had projected when it enacted the freeze. The $3.72 million is in addition to that amount.

It was not immediately clear just how the additional money for judges would be allocated

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