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Courts management bill clears the legislature

first_img Apr 27, 2021 By Jim Ash Senior Editor Top Stories Courts management bill clears the legislature Sen. Jeff BrandesThe Legislature has signed off on a courts management bill that would, among other things, tie future increases in the civil jurisdiction of county courts to the rate of inflation.The Senate voted 40-0 on April 26 to approve HB 1197 by Rep. Vance Aloupis, R-Miami. Senate Judiciary Chair Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, sponsored the companion, SB 748.“This is the courts bill,” Brandes said.At a previous committee stop, Brandes said the legislation is a collection of statutory changes related to the management of the courts that were “largely requested” by the Supreme Court.One provision would allow Floridians to postpone jury duty for up to a year during a declared state of emergency.The bill would also require the clerks of court, working with the Florida Courts Technology Commission, to develop a statewide “electronic solution” that identifies all civil and criminal mandatory financial assessments required by statute.Another measure would allow a defendant’s fingerprints to be taken, upon conviction, in a remote location. Currently, the prints must be taken in open court in the presence of a judge.The legislation also provides that after 2030, the civil jurisdiction of county courts would be adjusted upward every 10 years based on the rate of inflation. Lawmakers in 2019 increased the civil jurisdiction of county courts from $15,000 to $30,000, effective in January 2020. The same legislation calls for the jurisdiction to rise to $50,000 in January 2023.The bill would not permit the jurisdiction to fall below $50,000.last_img read more