Steve Shadley, Capital Public Radio
The bonds are part of an agreement to transfer county courts to the state.
California will see a mini construction boom, at least as far as courthouses go. Thanks to last week’s budget…legislators handed out five-billion dollars in bonds to build courtrooms in hopes of improving overcrowded conditions.
Democratic Sacramento area Assemblyman Dave Jones says it’s all part of an agreement to transfer county courts to the state. He says the bonds were passed by lawmakers a year ago but weren’t allocated until the state budget was approved last week. Jones says the bonds are secure and won’t be affected by the dismal financial markets. They’ll be financed by fees and criminal penalties collected by the courts.
Jones says the construction funds come in the nick of time because existing courtrooms aren’t safe…
“The courts are overcrowded. They’re not safe because many were built at a time when unfortunately we didn’t have to contend with the same kind of security issues. In many of the courts in the state of California we have prisoners being brought into public areas where they’re interacting with witnesses and victims…”
Jones expects more than 450 courthouse construction projects can be completed with the bond money statewide. 550-million of the bonds will build a new courthouse in Sacramento. Construction may begin in 2012.