After just one week of furloughs for Madison County court reporters, Chief Judge David Hylla said the courthouse’s funding was restored when Gov. Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 317 into law on March 27.
House Bill 317 was introduced by House Speaker Michael Madigan on March 24 in an effort to curb more courthouse budget crises across the state. The bill included appropriations needed for funding court reporters, among other things.
Madison County wasn’t alone in its challenges. Chief judges across the state had to make alternative plans for their smaller budgets, including furloughs and layoffs for hundreds of court reporters due to a budget shortfall.
Local court reporters were furloughed for three days, beginning on March 23, before full funding provided the necessary finances to prevent further furloughs or potential layoffs.
“We’re just really thankful to be back at work, doing our job. The public and the attorneys both seem to be happy we’re back, too,” said Court Reporter Supervisor Debbie Wallace.
During that week, there were six court reporters on duty at a time – a significant decrease from the regular 14.
Hylla said things went relatively smooth primarily because it was not a jury week.
He added that one court reporter came in during the week and volunteered her time “just in case things got tight.”
Hylla said the court reporters were “delighted” to find out that full funding was restored.
However, he said the funding will only last until the end of this fiscal year, which ends June 30. He said he doesn’t know what the funding will look like for next year.
“We’re hoping we won’t have to go through this again then,” Wallace said of the upcoming new fiscal year.