The legislative session is up and running and so am I — back and forth to Olympia. After the BOG Meeting on the Jan. 17, and the meeting with the Supreme Court on Jan. 18, it was back down last Wednesday for a Board of Judicial Administration meeting and the Chief Justice’s State of the Judiciary address. The Chief Justice did a great job of showing how the court system had adapted to hard times by innovating. One example was the use of interpreters appearing telephonically rather than in person. The courts using these virtual interpreters had not only saved money but had also been able to cover more languages and serve more people.
Chief Justice Madsen also directly addressed 2 recent actions of the court that had upset some legislators. The first was the court’s decision in McCleary, mandating that the state step up its funding of basic education. The second was the court’s adoption of caseload standards for public defense, which require that some local governments increase funding. She acknowledged the difficulty of finding additional dollars for education and public defense, but she also defended the court’s role in both areas. Looking at the legislators from the gallery, it was obvious that she had their full attention.
While in Olympia, Executive Director Paula Littlewood, Immediate Past President Steve Crossland, and I, accompanied by our lobbyist, Kathryn Leathers, also had the opportunity to meet and visit with Sen. Padden, the chair of the Senate Law and Justice Committee.
On Friday, I had the chance to address the new Washington Leadership Institute fellows. You may recall that as of Oct. 1 this program is now a collaboration between the WSBA and UW School of Law, who now administers the program. As has been in the past, this year’s class is a very impressive group of young lawyers.
Enjoy the rest of your week!