Friday, November 29, 2013

Reforming Utah's Court Systems - Part 2

In October, I presented a proposal to the Judiciary Interim Committee to reform Utah's court system.  My proposal and the data supporting the change were illustrated in an hour long conversation.

After gauging the concerns of some of the committee members, and to make proposed changes more palatable (and thus more likely to succeed), we changed the direction of our conversation for November's interim committee.

Instead of major reforms themselves, we changed our proposal to create a task force of stakeholders.  I believe that getting the stakeholders to the table will foster better discussion and better results.  The task force will debate the issues and then make recommendations to the legislature regarding changes it feels are appropriate to our court system.  Members of the task force will include representatives of the courts, the House, the Senate, prosecutors, defense attorneys, the public, and others.  Here is the original draft of the task force bill:

Unfortunately, the November interim meeting of the Judiciary committee was very chaotic.  It started an hour late due to the Senate conducting confirmation hearings.  Then, when it did start, it lacked a quorum and could not take any action on bills being presented.  To accommodate the schedules of legislators who had conflicting appointments, the committee bumped our task force item to last on the agenda with 15 minutes left in the meeting.  Most of the committee was in support of the concept but voiced reservations on details regarding the make up of the committee.  After hearing some constructive criticism, we adjourned.

You can read how the press reported on the meeting HERE.

I will be working with committee members before the General Session begins in January to make sure we address their concerns and move forward with the task force.

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