Legislation that will add more judicial officers in Hamilton, Hendricks and Owen counties passed unanimously out of the House of Representatives Tuesday.
Senate Enrolled Act 486 allows Hamilton Superior judges to appoint a third full-time magistrate and the judges of Hendricks Superior Court to jointly appoint two full-time magistrates. A second judge will be added to Owen Circuit Court. The legislation also establishes a unified Circuit Court in Owen County, with two judges as of Jan. 1, 2015.
The introduced version of the bill was prepared by the Commission on Courts. If signed by Gov. Mike Pence, it will become effective July 1, 2013. A fiscal impact statement prepared April 1 says that the full effect of the bill on state expenditures from Indiana’s general fund will not happen until Fiscal Year 2016, when all the judicial officers will be appointed and serving.
Last week, the Senate passed 49-0 House Bill 1061 which would give Marion Superior judges the ability to appoint 12 full-time magistrates as of Jan. 1, 2014. No more than six may be from the same political party. It also lets Warrick Circuit and Superior judges jointly appoint a magistrate. That bill was returned to the House with an amendment stating the Warrick County magistrate would continue in office until jointly removed by the Circuit and Superior judges.