VBA Journal

SPR 2015

The VBA Journal is the official publication of The Virginia Bar Association.

Issue link: http://vba.epubxp.com/i/501825

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Page 14 of 42

10 • VBA JOURNAL 10 • VBA JOURNAL BY JEFFREY S. PALMORE LEGISLATIVE RESULTS O ne of the ways Te Virginia Bar Association ful- flls its mission is through advocacy for legisla- tion that will improve the law and ensure the fair administration of justice. During the 2015 Virginia General Assembly session, the VBA proposed and supported a number of legislative and budgetary initiatives, many of which the governor has signed into law, that will help all citizens of the commonwealth. Te VBA has long advocated for full funding of our ju- diciary, and the 2015 session made improvements toward that goal. Te amendments to the current biennial budget approved by the General Assembly and the governor include funding for nine additional state judges, bringing the total number of funded judgeships up to 405. Tese additional judges build on the success of the 2014 Virginia General As- sembly session that implemented a number of recommen- dations of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) Judicial Workload Study. Tough Virginia has not yet reached the NCSC's recommended judicial stafng level of 429 judges, the judgeships added this year will help improve access to justice in the commonwealth. Te VBA is grateful to the members of the General Assembly and the governor for their support for additional funding for the judiciary. Te 2015 session also adopted a change to the long-stand- ing mandatory retirement age for judges. State law currently requires judges to retire shortly after their 70th birthday. Te General Assembly approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Tommy Norment and Del. Jay Leftwich that extends the mandatory retirement age to 73. Tis change would impact only judges who are appointed or reappointed to a new term after July 1, but would help avoid judicial vacancies that can take time to fll. Finally, legislation initiated and supported by VBA sections and afliated groups garnered broad support in the 2015 ses- sion. As detailed on these pages, the General Assembly ap- proved legislation proposed by the Business Law Section, the Real Estate Section, the Construction and Public Contracts Section, the Wills, Trusts & Estates Section, the Boyd-Graves Conference, and the Virginia Family Law Coalition. Te VBA also was engaged in a number of other legislative initiatives, helping to propose amendments and alert legislators to con- cerns from practitioners. VBA initiatives fnd broad support

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