HARRISBURG, Pa. - Sen. Stuart J. Greenleaf, R-Montgomery, Bucks, has sponsored a bill to amend Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in organization and jurisdiction of courts of common pleas, further providing for courts of common pleas.
Senate Bill 222 was prompted by requests from president judges and county commissioners in counties where there is a perceived need for at least one judge or more to handle the case load.
“After receiving a couple requests, Sen. Greenleaf asked all senators to discuss the issue with their president judges and county commissioners and let us know whether they would like to be included in the bill,” Patrick S. Cawley, executive director and counsel for the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee, told the Pennsylvania Record.
Counties must support this legislation because the counties provide the courtroom space, judge’s chambers and staffing. The state only pays the judge’s salary.
“To my knowledge, this is how additional judgeships have always been created," Cawley said. "The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts has undertaken a more scientific approach to determining the appropriate complement of judges for each judicial district. AOPC collected data and is assembling a report that will assist the General Assembly in understanding where judges should be added."
Cawley said he did not know when the final report will be released.
The new judgeships added by the amendment of 42 Pa.C.S. 911(a) will be established on Jan. 2, 2020, and will be initially filled by election at the 2019 municipal election.
The provisions of 42 Pa.C.S. 3135 shall not apply to the selection of judges for the judgeships created by the amendment of 42 Pa.C.S. 911(a).
There will be one court of common pleas for each judicial district of the commonwealth.
“The bill was reported out of the judiciary committee and awaits a vote on the Senate floor," Cawley said. "The bill would then go to the House of Representatives."