February 22, 2023
The Honorable Thomas J. Umberg, Chair
Chair, Senate Committee on Judiciary
1020 N Street, Room 3240
Sacramento, CA 95814
SUBJECT: SB 75 (Roth) — SUPPORT
Dear Chair Umberg:
Inland Action strongly supports Senate Bill 75 (Roth). Inland Action is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of business leaders in the Inland Empire region. SB 75 would authorize 26 new superior court judgeships, subject to appropriation. If funded in the budget, any new judgeships would be allocated to counties in the State in accordance with the Judicial Council’s Judicial Needs Assessment.
In recent years, the judicial branch has received funding for the fifty judgeships authorized by AB 159. However, a critical need for additional judicial resources in underserved areas of the State continues to exist. Based on the Judicial Council’s 2022 Judicial Needs Assessment, seventeen counties require additional judgeships for a total requirement of ninety-eight new judicial positions in the State. Of the ninety-eight positions needed in the State, Riverside and San Bernardino counties account for a total of fifty-two of those judicial positions to provide appropriate access to justice for Inland Southern California residents. The fifty-two positions needed in these two counties represents 55 percent of the overall need in the State.
This disparity is expected to widen as the Southern California Association of Governments projects that San Bernardino and Riverside Counties will grow twice as fast as any other area of Southern California through 2048. Furthermore, according to the Judicial Council of California’s 2022 Court Statistics Report, Riverside County Superior Court had 3,515 filings per judicial position, the 3rd highest number amongst the State’s 58 counties. Similarly, Riverside County’s ratio of judicial positions per 100,000 is 3.4, while the statewide average is 11.4 judicial positions per 100,000. It also finds that San Bernardino has the highest unmet judicial need of the State. It has been short 30 judges since 2008. While San Bernardino and Riverside counties are the two counties with the most need, fifteen other counties require additional resources as well.
Every day we see the real impacts of our overwhelmed justice system in case dismissals, delayed trials and more. If we as a State truly believe in justice, we must provide it in a timely fashion to every Californian regardless of zip code, and that begins with properly authorizing and funding judicial positions in every corner of the State.
For these reasons, Inland Action request an “Aye” vote on SB 75.