Virginia 2012 Legislative Year in Review

New laws and resolutions affecting the courts enacted or adopted by the Virginia legislature in 2012 include the following:

HB 484 Provides that the operational expenses associated with providing secure remote access to land records includes locating technology in an offsite facility for purposes of improving public access or for the implementation of a disaster recovery plan. The bill extends the prohibition on selling or posting data accessed by secure remote access to include land records. Further requires the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court to establish security and data standards for interfacing between a circuit courts case management or financial management system and the systems of the Supreme Court.

HB 745 ORIGINAL: Requires the Supreme Court to develop a weighted caseload system to assess judicial caseloads throughout the Commonwealth, and using that system, requires the Court to determine the need for judicial positions and the optimum distribution of judicial positions throughout the Commonwealth and to prepare a recommended plan for the realignment of the circuit boundaries. AS AMENDED: Provides funds go directly to the National Center for State Courts to provide for the development and implementation of the system pursuant to a contract with the Supreme Court of Virginia. (Full disclosure: Gavel to Gavel is a product of the National Center for State Courts).

HB 837 Clarifies that local salary supplements may be paid to clerks and other local district court employees, excepting district court judges and substitute judges, wholly out of local funds.

HB 1250 ORIGINAL: Adds to the ranks of the honorary members of the Judicial Conference of Virginia the deans of the Liberty University School of Law and the Appalachian School of Law. AS AMENDED: Also adds president and secretary of the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

HB 1284 Clarifies when the clerk of the court may destroy case file papers.

HJR 111 Requests the Judicial Council of Virginia to study the jurisdictional capacity of the Court of Appeals and whether such capacity should be expanded.

SB 251 AS AMENDED BY HOUSE: Provides that certain court fees collected by the clerk of a circuit court shall be deposited into a special revenue fund in the local treasury. Institutes a fee of $25 for recording an order to celebrate the rites of marriage by a non-minister. Provides for convenience fee of $2 per transaction or four percent of the amount paid for paying court fees by credit or debit card.