The Assembly and Senate appear to be in agreement about where to put the 20 new Family Court judges authorized in the current state budget, though the Senate wants three more upstate judgeships created beginning in 2016.
The Assembly approved a bill Monday, A9754, that would allocate the new judges using to an analysis by the Office of Court Administration on where the need is greatest (NYLJ, May 16). The legislation would put nine of the judges in New York City and one each in Albany, Broome, Chautauqua, Erie, Monroe, Nassau, Oneida, Oswego, Schenectady, Suffolk and Westchester counties.
The Assembly passed the measure, which has no Senate counterpart, 129-1.
Also Monday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman John Bonacic, R-Mount Hope, filed S7722, which would provide for the 20 judges to begin serving on Jan. 1, 2015, in the same locations as those designated in the Assembly bill and OCA. But it also stipulates that Family Court judgeships be added in Warren, Franklin and Delaware counties beginning on Jan. 1, 2016.
Parts of Delaware County are in Bonacic’s district and his Republican colleague, Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, has pushed to add Family Court judges in Franklin and Warren counties. Bonacic said in a statement that the three judgeships are in “rural areas in dire need of Family Court judges that would have been left out of the discussion otherwise.”
“Talks with the Assembly are ongoing … and I expect we will come to an agreement before the end of session,” he said.
The Legislature is scheduled to conclude its regular 2014 session on June 19. Should legislators and Gov. Andrew Cuomo not reach an agreement on where to place the judgeships, the $5 million appropriation will be lost for that purpose.