House gives final approval to bill adding two new judges for the Benton County District Court

Measure now goes to the governor

A bill that would add two additional judges to the Benton County District Court cleared its final legislative hurdle Monday and is on its way to the governor.

The House of Representatives voted 92-2 to approve Senate Bill 5102, which is the identical version of a House measure prime-sponsored by Rep. Brad Klippert.

“We have a growing backlog of court cases in Benton County that is beyond the ability for the three existing judges and two court commissioners to keep up with in a timely manner. Under Washington law, a person has a right to a speedy trial and timely consideration of a case. We do not want to deny justice to any of our citizens,” said Klippert, R-Kennewick. “This measure would allow the Benton County District Court to add two judges, and we would move the court commissioners into those positions to relieve the caseload and provide timely justice.”

Klippert noted the legislation would not cost the state any additional money.

The 8th District lawmaker introduced his own version of the measure, House Bill 1204, which passed the House on Feb. 23 by a vote of 96-1. It was later decided the identical Senate bill would be the measure sent to the governor.

“I'm very pleased the Legislature has taken action to increase efficiency and functionality in the Benton County District Court,” added Klippert. “The next step is for the governor to sign this bill into law. What an opportunity for this Legislature to better serve the citizens of our state without any negative fiscal impact to the state's finances!”

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov