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Looking Ahead: Expanded in-person hearings and the Judicial Branch budget Tuesday, May 12, 2020

On May 4, 2020 our State Court Administrator, Sally Holewa, outlined our process to expand the number and types of proceedings that will be held as we continue to meet the challenges presented by the current emergency. As outlined by Ms. Holewa, we anticipate that by June 1st the minimum number of team members necessary to carry-out our judicial functions will have returned to working on-site in all of our districts. A return to in-person proceedings is essential for the Judicial Branch to meet the demands of our normal workload. As we return to working on-site, the health of our team members and the public remains our priority.

On May 1, 2020, Governor Burgum presented his strategic guidelines for the 2021-2023 biennium. While the judicial branch is not bound by those guidelines, they do provide us with a reference point for the Judicial Branch’s budget for the next biennium. During the upcoming budgeting process it is important we consider all ideas to meet the upcoming budget challenges. All of our team members have perspectives and experiences that will allow them to provide ideas, big and small, to improve our efficiency or make our jobs easier. All of our team members are encouraged to share their ideas with the unit administrators.

Sally Holewa, the Unit Administrators, and I have already begun discussions regarding the upcoming budget process. On May 18th we will be providing the presiding judges with information about our past budgets and beginning work on our future budget. We will work to make the budgeting process as transparent and inclusive as possible. Your questions and your suggestions during the budgeting process will always be welcome.

Jon J. Jensen
Chief Justice