Temporary judges bill passes
Last updated 3/23/2022 at 6:07am
OLYMPIA – Rep. Mary Dye's bill to allow temporary judges in single-judge courtrooms is awaiting the governor's signature after clearing the Leglislature before it adjourned.
Dye, a 9th District Republican legislator who represents Franklin County and neighboring areas, is the author of House Bill 1825. It sets procedures to allow the chief justice of the state Supreme Court to appoint a temporary judge to fill in when needed.
The state House of Representatives concurred on March 7 to a Senate amendment, clearing the way for it to move to the governor.
The bill was inspired by a situation in 2019 when a judge took a leave of absence after being charged with sexual misconduct in the workplace, Dye said.
"That vacancy created some problems and delays in court cases. Justice delayed is justice denied," Dye said. "To fill the silence in the law, I worked with the office of the administration of the courts and judges with experience to draft this legislation.
"This bill ensures that gap is filled so cases can be heard in a timely manner and to reduce the possibility of a backlog on the court's docket."
The bill clarifies that a presiding judge pro tempore may be predesignated by the chief justice of the state Supreme Court to step in when the presiding judge becomes unavailable, incapacitated, ill or dies.
"The Senate amendment is not controversial. It just requires the chief justice to consult with local legislative authorities before appointing a temporary judge to fill a vacancy in a single-judge court," Dye said. "I am grateful for the support to get this bill to the governor for his signature."