Today, the Iowa Supreme Court approved the Fiscal Year 2021 Iowa Judicial Branch budget that begins July 1, 2020, based on this year's legislative appropriation of $181,023,737 which is $500,000 less than the appropriation in FY 2020.*
Entering FY 2021, the judicial branch will implement a 2.1% salary increase for all non-judicial officer employees, continue the hiring freeze on current vacant positions and hold open new vacancies for at least 90 days. The judicial branch will also hold open all judicial officer vacancies occurring during fiscal year 2021 for at least 90 days and restrict travel for the next six months.
"Our communities depend upon accessing their courts, especially during this very uncertain time,” Chief Justice Susan Christensen said. "In making its FY 2021 budget decisions, the Iowa Supreme Court reaffirmed its commitment to Iowa’s community-based court system and constructed a plan that should avoid the need for court closure days, so Iowans will maintain access to justice in all 99 counties.”
A special page has been added to the Iowa Judicial Branch website with details of the FY 2021 budget and the services provided by the courts at https://www.iowacourts.gov/iowa-courts/2021-budget/
"Despite the reduced funding, we have not included any court closure days,” Chief Justice Christensen said. “Nevertheless, it will not be business as usual. With a large backlog of cases that were postponed because of the pandemic, a new scheduling process implemented to allow for social distancing, and unfilled positions in courthouses around the state, Iowans can expect the traditional daily process of hearing cases to be much slower."
* There was an error in an earlier version of this news release. The Iowa Judicial Branch FY 20-21 budget appropriation is for $181,023,737, not the $180,023,737 as stated in the earlier version of this news release. This version has the correct information.