State would again pay for court system

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The state would again pay for the courts out of its general fund, under legislation passed Friday, ending a period of paying for it with court filing fees that turned out to be a mistake, reports the News Service of Florida.

Lawmakers in 2009 created a system whereby the courts would be paid for mostly by filing fees from foreclosures – which at the time were taking up much of the courts’ resources, and so it was reasoned should pay for them.  But when allegations of irregularities in foreclosure documents led to a moratorium, the money for the courts dropped off too, causing the state to have to provide emergency cash to keep them open.

The House on Friday passed a budget conforming bill (HB 5403) by a 94-23 vote and sent it back to the Senate, where it was expected to be voted on later. The measure puts the courts budget back into general revenue, in an effort to end the volatile situation of the last couple of years. Gov. Rick Scott had proposed making the switch back, as had The Florida Bar and a workgroup that looked at the court funding issue.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.