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House, Senate remain split on Virginia trial court judgeships

The two chambers of the General Assembly remain 41 judges apart on their respective proposals for adjusting the allocation of judgeships in local Virginia courthouses.

On a 63-30 vote, the House of Delegates Monday rejected a 429-judgeship plan advanced by the Senate. House budget leaders favor a 388-judge proposal accompanied by a plan to increase the number as judges are elected later this week or in a special session.

Del. Vivian E. Watts, D-Annandale, argued for the more expansive Senate version, saying it would be a “significant mistake” to change the state code’s schedule of judgeships based only on budget concerns. The code should reflect the judgeship numbers recommended by a recent caseload study, Watts said.

“Whether or not we can fund all of those judges is a separate budget decision to be weighed within all of the priorities,” Watts said.

The House vote to reject the Senate substitute proposal signals the judgeship decision likely will be made in a conference committee.

One comment

  1. Members of the Va. Bar need to remind the legislature that an underfunded judiciary ultimately causes delay and wastes money. We deserve better.

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