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Iowa's Chief Justice Calls for More Funding, Staffing for Courts

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Iowa Chief Justice Mark Cady delivered his State of the Judiciary speech to a joint session of the Iowa Legislature Wednesday. He's calling for increased staffing in the court system, which has taken a hit in budget cuts in recent years.

Cady wants court offices around the state to stay open all week. Right now they close in the afternoons twice a week. He also tells lawmakers the state doesn’t have enough juvenile officers to reach all of Iowa’s children in need.

“This is just wrong – every child who enters into our system deserves to have at least a face-to-face meeting with an assigned trained juvenile court officer.”

Cady says the courts will continue to increase efficiency by adopting a paperless court system. But he says the court needs more funding to meet its constitutional duties.

The court system is asking for an allocation of $167 million for the coming fiscal year. That’s an increase of nearly $6 million from last year.

Republican Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen says the Chief Justices’ proposals were thoughtful and they’ll work through them.

Clay Masters is Iowa Public Radio’s Morning Edition host and lead political reporter.