New laws affecting the courts enacted or adopted by the Montana legislature in 2011, plus a referndun set to appear on the 2012 ballot, include the following:
SB 268 Referendum to require election of supreme court justices from districts. To appear on 2012 ballot.
HB 65 Provides that in criminal matters when a interpreter is appointed, the interpreter’s fee must be paid by the office of court administrator in accordance with judicial branch policy (currently paid out of the county general fund).
HB 70 Requires separate investment fund must be maintained for judges’ retirement system apart from any other retirement system.
HB 89 Provides candidates for district judgeship need not file certain documents with county election officials and are instead to file with the state-level commissioner of political practices.
HB 444 Creates budget database website for all judicial and other government budgets and expenditures.
HB 480 Provides a clerk of a justice’s court of record acting as a judge pro tempore may not preside over a trial but may preside over an initial appearance. Allows for temporary appointment of a justice of the peace of a court not-of-record into a justice of the peace court-of-record.
HB 587 Allows for office of associate water court judge.
SB 41 Allow cities to establish courts of record (currently may establish courts not of record).
SB 67 Directs office of court administrator temporarily suspend juvenile delinquency intervention program annual evaluation for one year and transfer funds to the general fund in lieu of conducting the evaluation.
SB 238 Increases jurisdictional limit for justice court from $7,000 to $12,000; for small claims from $3,000 to $7,000; for city court from $5,000 to $9,500.
SJR 26 Directs Joint Subcommittees on Appropriations monitor the Court Help Program and the Water Courts during interim.
SJR 29 Requests Legislative Council interim study of restorative justice.