LANSING, Mich. — The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Jon Bumstead to add a judgeship to the 14th Circuit Court in Muskegon County beginning in 2023, among other additional judgeships.
“Circuit Courts in counties across the state are currently facing a significant backlog, and they do not have enough judges on hand to keep up with their current caseloads,” said Bumstead, R-Newaygo. “This legislation will enable the circuit courts to catch up on the backlog of pending cases and operate at peak capacity into the future.”
Every two years the State Court Administrative Office releases a Judicial Resource Recommendations report based on its review of the needs of the Michigan judiciary. The 2019 report recommended that a judge be added to the 14th Circuit Court in Muskegon County.
Senate Bill 694 would add the additional circuit court judge starting on Jan. 1, 2023, bringing the county’s total to five circuit court judges. The initial term would be for eight years to stagger the judgeships, so that no more than two of the judges are up for re-election in the same year.
“Adding a judge to Muskegon’s 14th Circuit Court is necessary to ensure county residents have access to justice,” said Bumstead. “Doing so will also ease the increased workload judges are currently handling, which will allow them more time to dedicate to individual cases.”
The House Judiciary adopted a substitute to the legislation that would add additional judgeships from Kent County all the way to the district court of Cheboygan and Presque Isle. The additional judgeships were also included in the most recent Judicial Resource Recommendations report.
The bill now goes to the floor of the House of Representatives for consideration.