Court budget hangs in the balance As special session looms Court budget hangs in the balance Senior Editor With a base budget of about $280 million, the Florida court system sought about $11 million in new funding from the Florida Legislature this year.With a special budget session looming, it appears only a fraction of that will be approved by the House and the Senate, and there’s an additional danger the legal system could permanently lose $26 million in court trust funds that had been set aside to help pay for a constitutional amendment mandating the state pick up more trial court expenses. The money was used by the state last fall to help make up a $1 billion budget shortfall.One dramatic example of the difference between what the Supreme Court requested and what the legislature is willing to give is the number of requested new employees. The court asked for 186.5 new positions. The last Senate budget has 34, while the House had, depending on how it’s counted, 18 or 19.“A number of those [unapproved positions] dealt with the oncoming Revision 7 [that will see the state take over more of the trial courts’ funding] and was an attempt on the court’s part to begin to address some of the needs in those counties that don’t have a lot of resources,” said Deputy State Court Administrator Lisa Goodner. “The legislature, of course having just been through a massive budget cutting exercise, was not in a mood to fund a lot of additional positions, period, especially since they had to take so many off line.”A notable reduction in what the court requested and what lawmakers are likely to approve is the number of new judges. The Supreme Court certified 49 new judges — two DCA, 34 circuit, and 13 county judges — and 62 support staff positions. That cost was expected to be $6.6 million (for half a budget year — the positions were slated to start in January).The most recent version of the Senate budget had a total of 29 positions, 12 of them judicial, with a budget of $1.7 million. The House had 19 positions, nine of them judicial, and a budget of $861,465. (Part of the difference is the House and Senate started the new positions later in the budget year than did the Supreme Court.)The Senate package calls for eight new circuit judges, two DCA judges, and two county court judges, while the House has nine circuit judges.Both, however, have included in their budgets $423,780 for a lease to relocate the Tampa branch of the Second District Court of Appeal at the new Stetson University College of Law Tampa campus. (See story to the right.)Both also had $40,000 to upgrade security at the Supreme Court.Generally, the Senate was willing to spend a bit more on courts than the House. The Senate included in its proposed budget $75,000 for facilities maintenance at the Supreme Court, $325,000 to improve court computer network operations, $132,891 for maintenance projects at the Fourth and Fifth DCAs, $100,000 for sexual predator conflict cases, $983,084 and two new positions for implementation of Revision 7 to help set up the finanical infrastructure needed when the state picks up trial court costs in two years, $175,000 for workload increases at the Judicial Qualifications Commission, and $350,000 to implement unified family courts. The House budget has no money for any of that.The House did, though, appropriate $760,000 to restore funding to drug courts cut in last fall’s special budget session. The Senate had no money in that line item, but proposed $105,932 and two full-time positions for drug court programs in the Third and Sixth circuits. The House also had $582,351 for foster care review programs in Miami-Dade, Marion, Manatee, and Duval counties, while the Senate had $375,000 for that — monies that were cut in last fall’s special budget session.The House would also cut one human resources position for the courts and provide $386,902 to privatize those services. The Senate budgeted no money for that, and cut no positions. Denied Court Requests Not funded in either budget were many court requests, including:• $87,000 and two new positions for the guardian ad litem program in the Ninth Circuit.• $1 million for 18 new general master positions.• $541,448 and nine new positions for judicial case management.• $677,367 and 12 new positions for capital case staff attorneys to help judges handling death penalty trials.• $511,697 and six positions for chief court deputies to help with trial court administration.• $508,027 for nine new trial court staff attorneys to help judges.• $683,828 and 13 positions for trial court infrastructure to improve operations.• $305,000 for projects to improve access to courts for persons with disabilities.• $91,114 and one new position for the Justice Teaching Institute. The $26-Million Question One major budget difference — which could have ramifications for the next two years when the legislature struggles to come up with as much as $500 million to take over more funding of trial courts from the counties pursuant to a 1998 constitutional amendment — is the handling of the Article V Trust Fund.According to Goodner, the fund was set up to help counties pay for court-related costs — such as court reporters and conflict public defenders — and begin the transition to the state paying more of those costs.But for the 2001-02 budget, Gov. Jeb Bush vetoed many of the projects, saying he wanted to begin building reserves for when the state must assume those greater expenses. That, according to the constitutional amendment, must be no later than July 1, 2004.But when the budget crunch hit last fall, lawmakers noticed that the trust fund had $26 million in it and no specified appropriations. So they used that money to pay court costs that otherwise would have come from general revenues, and used the savings to help patch up a $1-billion hole in the budget. They also promised to restore the trust fund later.The Senate budget replaces that money, while the House doesn’t. The House also passed legislation, which was not taken up in the Senate, to do away with the Article V Trust Fund, as well as the family court and court education trust funds, with those operations being funded from general revenues in the future.Goodner said court funding will be a major issue for the next two years, as the legislature must address the funding shift, and it is too major of a change to leave to the 2004 session.Next year, court and legislative staffers will be laying the groundwork, explaining the operations and funding of the trial courts and exploring where the money will come from when the state picks up its new financial obligations.“The attorneys in the state need to understand that issue and understand how important that is to their practices — that Revision 7 be implemented in such a way that it doesn’t impair the operations of the courts,” Goodner said.As this News went to press, the legislature was expected to have a special session to pass a state budget sometime later this month. May 1, 2002 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News
The Los Angeles Clippers’ sale has been finalized. It is hard to imagine that a professional team is worth 2 billion dollars. This was the asking price by Donald Sterling’s wife, and it was agreed to by Steve Ballmer. The former CEO of Microsoft had the money and was willing to pay that price to own a professional team. Everyone in sports agrees that it was the best possible scenario for the Clippers’ fans, their city, and their players.For us ordinary folks it is hard to believe that an individual has that much money and is willing to spend it in this fashion. However, it was reported that on the day the sale was finalized, the owners’ share of Microsoft stock raised enough that he made over 50 million on that day alone. This, too, is hard to imagine when the average person worries about $500 – $1000 loss in the stock market decline.According to media reports, the former owner, Donald Sterling, will appeal the sale of the Clippers. In his mind, he still thinks he owns the Clippers. The NBA and the courts both unanimously degreed that he has been stripped of any control of the team. Since this is the USA, this may be in court for several years if Sterling has enough money to keep hiring lawyers.
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Aug 28 2018The role of aspirin in preventing a first heart attack or stroke among people at moderate risk of heart disease remains unclear. At the 2018 European Society of Cardiology meeting, J. Michael Gaziano, MD, a preventive cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, presented findings from ARRIVE, a randomized, controlled clinical trial of the use of daily aspirin to prevent a first cardiovascular event among more than 12,500 participants considered to be at moderate cardiovascular risk. The team’s findings are detailed in a paper published simultaneously in The Lancet.”Aspirin did not reduce the occurrence of major cardiovascular events in this study,” said Gaziano. “However, there were fewer events than expected, suggesting that this was in fact a low-risk population. This may have been because some participants were taking medications to lower blood pressure and lipids, which protected them from disease. The decision on whether to use aspirin for protection against cardiovascular disease should be made in consultation with a doctor, considering all the potential risks and benefits.”The benefits of taking aspirin to prevent a second or subsequent heart attack or stroke have been well established in previous studies but the effectiveness of taking aspirin to prevent a first cardiovascular event has been unclear, despite 30 years of randomized clinical trials. The Aspirin to Reduce Risk of Initial Vascular Events (ARRIVE) study, sponsored by Bayer, sought to assess both the potential benefits as well as the risks to people at moderate risk of cardiovascular disease who may already be receiving some protection from modern preventative and therapeutic strategies.Participants were randomly assigned to receive either daily aspirin tablets (100 mg) or a placebo. A total of 12,546 participants were enrolled from primary care settings in the UK, Poland, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Spain, and the U.S. The primary endpoint was time to first occurrence of a composite of cardiovascular death, heart attack, unstable angina, stroke, and transient ischemic attack.Related StoriesResearchers report promising results of potential reversal agentStudy indicates the benefits of stopping aspirin in heart attack patientsAspirin could be used to treat patients with severe tuberculosis infectionThe rate of such cardiovascular events did not statistically differ between the aspirin group and the placebo group. During the study, 269 patients (4.29 percent) in the aspirin group and 281 patients (4.48 percent) in the placebo group experienced such cardiovascular events.Overall, these rates were lower than expected. The authors conclude that this may be reflective of contemporary risk-management strategies, such as the use of statins.Given that aspirin is known to increase patients’ risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, ARRIVE excluded patients at high risk of bleeding. It also excluded patients with diabetes. Gastrointestinal bleeding events (mostly mild) occurred in 61 patients in the aspirin group versus 29 in the placebo group. The overall incidence rate of adverse events was similar in both treatment groups.”The use of aspirin remains a decision that should involve a thoughtful discussion between a clinician and a patient, given the need to weigh cardiovascular and possible cancer prevention benefits against the bleeding risks, patient preferences, cost, and other factors,” the authors conclude.The authors’ declaration of interests and the roles of the Executive Committee and of the sponsor can be found in The Lancet. The sponsor was responsible for the conduct of the trial. The independent Executive Committee, of which Gaziano was a member, was responsible for the study protocol, oversight of the study, writing of the report, and the decision to publish the results. All members of the Executive Committee received personal fees from Bayer during the conduct of the study. Source:https://www.brighamandwomens.org/