Heads Up: New Court Committees Target Budget, Access

While the debate over public access to court-management committee meetings gathers steam (see immediate previous post), anyone wondering about the significance of those groups need only look a bit deeper into new committees being formed on hot-button issues – like budget and access. Given that the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) is sometimes blamed for “rubber stamping” committee work, a skeptic might suggest that pushing debate into committee or even sub-committee meetings effectively removes discussion from citizen oversight.
The budget committee would, among other things, “… report to the council on AOC contracts that meet established criteria to ensure that the contracts are in support of judicial branch policy” and “… review proposed updates and revisions to the Judicial Branch Contracting Manual.” For a system facing debate over how much work can be farmed out to private contractors, as opposed to re-hiring employees, that’s an important discussion. 
Another group, actually a sub-group of a committee and led by a “committee co-chair” will tackle “… physical, programmatic, and language access; fairness in the courts; and diversity in the judicial branch.” Given that legal action against the Los Angeles Superior Court reorganization focuses on physical and other access issues, that’s another great debate.
And of course, all this helps create context for the 2014 state budget battle. Read between the lines at the State website.