Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Statehouse Live: Legislative budget impasse will cause court closings, furloughs, Chief Justice Nuss said

By SCOTT ROTHSCHILD, The Lawrence Journal-World

TOPEKA — Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss on Wednesday said Kansas courts will have to be closed and employees furloughed for five days because the Legislature failed to approve a budget before adjourning last week.

The court closings and unpaid furloughs are set for April 13, April 27, May 11, May 25 and June 8.

"The Supreme Court simply believes it has no real choice but to act now, rather than face the uncertainties of what may happen when the Legislature returns," Nuss said.

The Legislature returns April 25 for the wrap up session. But legislators adjourned before its break without approving a budget when a deal fell through at the last minute.

The court system faces a $1.4 million shortfall and Nuss warned legislators earlier this year that it needed an appropriation by March 31 or closings and furloughs would occur.

House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, said courts had other funds to dip into to avoid closings, but Nuss said that was not the case.

The furloughs will affect 1,500 employees. A one-day furlough reduces an employee's paycheck by 10 percent.