Kansas Chief Justice: Furloughs Looming Next Year

Kansas Supreme Court Justice Lawton Nuss says the next fiscal year’s budget for the judicial branch could force courts across the state to be closed for seven weeks.

Nuss said Thursday that the budget approved by lawmakers this year for Fiscal Year 2015 is more than $8 million short of what the judiciary needs to avoid forcing its employees to take unpaid leave. Fiscal 2015 begins in July 2014.

The Supreme Court has appointed a 10-member advisory council to examine the consequences of not supplementing the courts’ budget and to make recommendations for reducing spending. The council’s first meeting is Oct. 7 in Topeka.

The Legislature appropriated about $127 million for the courts for the current fiscal year and almost $128 million for fiscal 2015.