Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, on Thursday signaled he supported a boost in funding for the Odyssey case management system and other court technology functions, after proposed funding was reduced in the House budget plan.
Kenley said the Indiana Supreme Court and the Judicial Technology and Automation Committee, in particular, had done their part absorbing budget cuts in recent years, and he believed their efforts should be rewarded.
“We’ve come off an extremely lean time, and we’ve had your cooperation in that regard,” Kenley told Chief Justice Brent Dickson during a committee hearing on the court’s budget.
“We’ll do our best,” Kenley said. “We think we have a little (money). We don’t know if we have very much.”
Dickson earlier told Senators that funding for Odyssey “remains our top priority.”
Odyssey was installed in 28 courts in 2012 and now has a presence in 45 counties, Director and Counsel for Trial Court Technology Mary DePrez told committee members.
A proposal to increase the automated record keeping case-filing fee that supports JTAC from $5 to $7 passed the House in House Bill 1393. The bill moved through the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. The bill as originally proposed would have increased the fee to $10, but the boost to $7 would restore the fee to the level it was at before being cut several years ago.
HB 1393 also creates a JTAC oversight committee, and the Senate Judiciary panel amended the bill to define its members and specify that private vendors in non-Odyssey jurisdictions have equitable access to send and receive information.
Kenley said even “the most vociferous opponents” of Odyssey agreed the proposed committee “is going to give them a way to solve this problem.”
Dickson said other requested budget increases for court programs would fund upgrades and increasing costs of existing contracts and obligations.
The court also hopes to receive funding to develop an appellate case management system, Dickson said, calling the current system “antiquated” and “paper-based.”
Dickson also pressed for funding for juvenile detention alternatives. Staff support at the courts would help foster implementation of programs being pursued in concert with the Department of Correction and the Criminal Justice Institute, he said.