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Governor’s budget adds judgeships, avoids VSB money

The governor’s budget is out, and it looks like good news for the courts and the bar.

Gov. Bob McDonnell proposes to add $1 million in each of the two years of the budget to restore funding for up to five previously authorized judgeships that currently are vacant.

The McDonnell budget also would add $2 million a year for lawyers for indigent criminal defendants and nearly $1.6 million over both years for more staff in the juvenile and domestic relations courts.

To the relief of officials at the Virginia State Bar, there do not appear to be any efforts to cut funding or use VSB money for other purposes in this McDonnell budget.

“I find nothing to indicate he’s moved anything around to change our appropriation,” said VSB executive director Karen Gould.

Another good sign, Gould said, was she did not get an “ominous Friday afternoon call from the governor’s office.” That call last year brought the unwelcome news that the governor planned to use $5 million in VSB money for general state spending – a proposal which ultimately was removed from the state budget.

By Peter Vieth

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