Senate Leader Seeks More Court Spending

Now that California’s budget season is really upon us, with a June 15 deadline looming, it seems state Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg is emerging as a champion for increased court spending – at least he’s including it among argument to increase state spending as opposed to diverting money to a “rainy day fund.”
The Sacramento Bee newspaper’s Capitol Alert blog outlines that Steinberg, a Sacramento Democrat “… said he will continue to push for expanding California’s public preschool program as the Legislature negotiates the state budget with Brown in the coming weeks. He also called out funding for courts, universities and Medi-Cal reimbursement as areas he thinks are inadequate in the budget proposal…”

Real Budget Debate Begins Today

Months of polite positioning ended today with the latest draft of Gov. Brown’s budget, with Republicans perhaps surprisingly welcoming of his spending plan while Democrats worried about lack of funds for things like social programs, education and courts. While most of the headline coverage focused on the state’s “rainy day fund” and debt payments, deeper coverage outlined the coming battle including a cautious outlook on judicial branch money.
CA State Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) supports increased funds for courts.

CA State Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) supports increased funds for courts.

Comments of note: Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), says The Los Angeles Times, “… signaled the majority party will want to spend more on programs that were cut in the past.” The paper quoted the senator including courts in his consideration: “It is time to consider thoughtful and careful reinvestment in areas such as the courts, education, healthcare, mental health, early childhood education and infrastructure that will have an immediate, positive impact on the entire state.” 
The Times also noted that California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye said the governor’s budget was “encouraging because it identifies additional funding and recognizes the need for fiscal stability with a creative proposal for a two-year budgeting formula for the trial courts.” She added the very cautious: “I look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature before the adoption of the Budget Act to ensure that all Californians have access to justice.”
Here’s a good reaction story from the Times: