The House of Representatives today approved HB1638 HD2, appropriating $161,137,650 for operating expenses and $50,590,000 for capital improvement costs of the Hawaii State Judiciary for fiscal year FY2014-2015. The budget now goes to the Senate for further consideration.
"We would like to thank Chair Karl Rhoads, House Judiciary; and the Chief Justice and the Judiciary staff for working in close collaboration with us in putting together a budget that addresses fundamental operating a safety concerns for their operations statewide. The Finance Committee was able to tour several Judiciary facilities this past interim, and being able to put what we learned into the context of these funding requests was a key factor in our decisions," said Finance Chair Sylvia Luke.
The budget includes $40 million in funding for the design and construction of the Kona Judiciary Complex, an $81 million courthouse complex to service the needs of Kona on the Big Island. These funds consist of the initial $9 million appropriated by the legislature last year to begin the planning process and a supplemental $31 million this year for the construction of the courthouse.
The supplemental Judiciary budget also includes appropriations for renovations, repairs and maintenance to existing facilities; landscape improvements; new construction; land acquisition; and utility modifications.
The bill also provides additional funds to increase the Judiciary’s services to the public. Expanded services include:
· $789,000 for service contracts to provide essential treatment to adult and juvenile offenders and their victims;
· $70,000 to increase guardian ad litem and legal counsel services for indigent parties;
· $198,493 and two social worker positions to expand mental health programs that serve clients with serious mental illnesses;
· $152,788 and two social worker assistant positions to ensure continuation of periodic drug testing of offenders;
· $94,900 to replace equipment used to interview children who are victims of or are affected by domestic violence, custody, or safety issues; and
· $1,700,000 to restructure the budget of the Judiciary to facilitate reclassification of critical positions.