State Court Administrator De-appropriation Message

On January 25, 2018, State Court Administrator Todd Nuccio issued the following message:

FY18 deappropriation message 1-25-2018

A proposed de-appropriation under SSB 3089 calls for a $4,835,445 reduction to the Iowa Judicial Branch budget in FY 18. The total amount of the cut recommended for all of Justice System Appropriations is $7.7 MM. At $4.8 MM, the Judicial Branch is absorbing 63% of that total. The overall de-appropriation amount being recommended is $50 MM As such, the Judicial Branch is being asked to absorb a little more than 9% of the reduction for all of state government. Put in another context, the Judicial Branch only receives 2.5% of the overall state
general fund. That means the Judicial Branch portion of the reduction is over 350% larger than the proportion of the funding we receive.

It should also not be forgotten that this would be the second de-appropriation in as many years. The FY 17 de-appropriation for the Judicial Branch was $3 MM. All totaled, the de-appropriation for this biennium budget would now rise to $7.8 MM.

Since 96% of the Judicial Branch budget is comprised of personnel costs, options are limited for making cuts. Should the $4.8 MM cut come to reality, we are left with no other choice than to close courthouses and eliminate personnel branch-wide. As such, we are projecting the closure of over 30 county courthouses proportionately distributed across our eight judicial districts. The courthouses selected for closure within each judicial district will be determined by caseload volume in each county. The workload of the closed courthouses will then be shifted to other county courthouses in that judicial district. The exact re-distribution will be determined in consultation with court and county officials at the local level. The period of closure will be indefinite.

As always, we will continue to work closely with House and Senate members to place the Judicial Branch in the most favorable position possible. This is just another step in the process. Much can and will likely change between today and when the Legislature arrives at a final number. I will share information as soon as more is known.

Providing equal access to justice for all Iowans is a fundamental principle of the Judicial Branch. We will endeavor to fulfill our commitment to this principle subject to the resource limitations placed upon us.

LCBA 2018 Bench-Bar Event

All Linn County Bar Association members are cordially invited to attend the LCBA’s 2018 Bench-Bar Event. It will be Thursday, January 18, 2018 from 4:30 –7:00 PM at Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, and features:

  • A tribute to our 50 year members of the LCBA (Ben Blackstock, Lew Eells, Phillip “Flip” Klinger, Frank Mitvalsky and Jim Affeldt)
  • Recognition of Hon. Marsha Bergan on her retirement
  • Recognition of the recipient of the LCBA’s annual Citizenship Award.
  • Complimentary hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer will be served. We will also have the pleasure of a repeat appearance by guest musicians Carlis Faurot and Mike Maas.

Please plan to attend this important and fun event! This event is free of charge to all dues-paid LCBA members.

LCBA Donates $42,000 to Nonprofits

This year, the Linn County Bar Association donated $31,330 to Iowa Legal Aid in Cedar Rapids; $10,000 to the Kids First Law Center; and $1,500 to Justice for Our Neighbors. Read more detail, including comments from our President Darin Luneckas, on The Gazette’s website:

http://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/government/linn-county-lawyers-donate-42000-to-3-nonprofits-20171221

Last Chance for Ethics Seminar (12/14/17)

The Last Chance for Ethics Seminar will take place at the Eastbank Venue + Lounge (Smulekoff’s Building) at 97 3rd Ave. SE in downtown Cedar Rapids on Thursday, December 14, 2017 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM. Doors open at 3:30 PM. Eastbank is located on the southwest corner of the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 1st St. SE. in Cedar Rapids. The entry will take you directly into the venue.

Topics include succession planning and topical matters of interest with respect to ethics. Our presenters are Trinity M. Braun-Arana, Asst. Director for Boards and Commissions Office of Professional Regulation; and, Justice Bruce Zager of the Iowa Supreme Court.

Per our custom, there will be appetizers and a cash bar. The event is free to Linn County Bar Association members in good standing (paid to date). Guests and non-members are welcome to attend for $20.

Thank Phillip D. Seidl of Seidl & Seidl, P.L.C. for organizing this event.

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