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State House Appropriations approves judiciary budget cut

By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wkar/local-wkar-845578.mp3

LANSING, MI – The state House continued voting on sweeping budget cuts Wednesday in Lansing. The lawmakers approved a $2.3 million cut for Michigan's courts.

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The state House Appropriations Committee took testimony from Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly. She says the courts have left jobs unfilled to reduce spending.

"We've now accumulated 21 vacant positions, not filled, that is clearly affecting the quality of services we can offer," she says. "But we've done this in the realization, as I say, that these are tough times and changes have to be made."

The House also approved the elimination of the state's mental health courts pilot projects, which the governor decided to cut earlier this year. Kelly says she is becoming increasingly aware of the need for the mental health courts. Members of the committee hope the courts can remain open as a federally funded program.

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