Rep. Dave Hayes’ bill to increase Skagit County District Court judges gets committee hearing

Legislator: Rep. Dave Hayes
Run Time: 61 seconds
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The House Judiciary Committee took public testimony on a bill Tuesday that would increase the number of District Court judges in Skagit County from two to three. John Sattgast reports from Olympia.

Sattgast: State Representative Dave Hayes of Camano Island is the prime sponsor of House Bill 1061. He says an additional judge is needed to help relieve a backlog of cases and ensure trials are held in a timely manner.

Hayes: “You know, the population of Skagit County has, uh, has grown significantly over the years. Uh, but the growth of the bench, uh, in the District Court has not. So they originally allocated two District Court judges and they still maintain two District Court judges.”

Sattgast: Testifying before the Judiciary Committee, Skagit County District Court Judge David Svarin said caseloads have increases tremendously in the past 16 years.

Svarin: “When I started in 1999, the caseload for District Court was nineteen thousand. And currently, the caseload for District Court is running at about thirty thousand, and commensurately, it has gone up for the municipal courts that are part of the system.”

Sattgast: Hayes is concerned any greater backlog could force pending court cases to be dismissed. The committee is expected to take action on the bill Thursday.

John Sattgast, Olympia.


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