The bill creates the underfunded courthouse facility cash fund commission and the underfunded courthouse facility cash fund. The commission has 7 members, 2 representatives of an association that represents county commissioners, one member from the department of local affairs, 2 members from the judicial branch, one member from the court security cash fund commission, and one member who represents the historical society.
The commission reviews applications for grants from counties to obtain master planning services for construction or remodeling projects, seek matching funds or leveraging opportunities for construction or remodeling projects, or address emergency needs due to the imminent closure of a court facility. A county's grant application must first be reviewed and approved by the chief judge of the county and the board of county commissioners. The commission then makes recommendations as to which applicants should receive job grants to the state court administrator based on statutory criteria. The state court administrator makes the final grant award decisions, and such decisions are not subject to an appeals process.
Grants from the fund may only be awarded to a county with limited financial resources and only if the county has demonstrated good faith in attempting to resolve the issues before seeking a grant, the county has agreed to disclose pertinent financial statements to the commission or the state court administrator for review, and the state court administrator is satisfied that the county does not have significant uncommitted reserves.
The bill also appropriates $1.5 million from the general fund to the underfunded courthouse facility cash fund for the 2014-15 state fiscal year.