New Judges, Higher Court Fees in State Plans

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Nevada lawmakers were told Monday that a plan for higher fees will generate more than $9 million a year, mainly in Las Vegas, to help to pay for 10 new judges needed because of big caseload increases.

Chief Justice Jim Hardesty told the Assembly Ways and Means Committee that the court's system biggest need is for more judges to handle civil cases, which he said are on the increase during the current economic downturn.

Under AB64 and AB65, the increased fees for filing various court documents would help pay for nine new district judgeships in the Las Vegas area, bringing the total there to 52, and one new judgeship in the Reno area, raising its total to 15.

Elections for the new judgeships would be held in 2010 and the new judges would take office at the start of 2011.

The higher fees would raise about $7.4 million a year in the Las Vegas area and about $1.7 a year in the Reno area. Hardesty says rural Nevada counties would get "an enormous shot in the arm" with new fee collections ranging from $100,000 to $250,000.

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