A bill to add two new district judgeships and support staff to the 5th and 9th judicial districts passed the House Judiciary Committee unanimously Thursday, according to a news release.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Millie Hamner (D-Dillon), would fulfill the Judicial Department's request for two new district judges and staff for the 5th and 9th judicial districts, which are both in Hamner's House district. The two judicial districts include Summit, Eagle, Clear Creek, Lake, Pitkin, Garfield and Rio Blanco counties.
The 5th Judicial District currently has the lowest district court judge staffing level in Colorado with just under 70 percent of full staffing. The 9th Judicial District has the second lowest with 73 percent of full staffing.
Hamner said this bill will lessen the burden on the courts and expedite court cases.
"Right now, these district judges have extremely heavy caseloads and this bill will help ensure every judge has and is able to give the proper time and attention to their cases," Hamner said. "This bill will make our judicial system more efficient and speed up the process for people going through the court system in those areas."
The 5th Judicial District last received a new district judge in 2005 and has since grown its caseload by 71 percent where the 9th Judicial District last received a new district judge in 2009 and has since increased its caseload by 68 percent.