Gov. Deval L. Patrick filed his budget recommendations for
fiscal year 2014 on Jan. 23. Patrick recommends funding the Trial
Court at $577 million, which is less than the $589 million
maintenance request by the court.
A supplemental budget, filed on the same day, contains a newly
formed commission to study court realignment and judicial
salaries. The commission will be comprised of legislative, bar and
court leadership and must report back within six months. The
language establishing the commission specifically asks for a
recommendation on 15 courts that could close in the next 10
The supplemental budget proposal also included a section
establishing a standing commission to study the criminal justice
The Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation budget
recommendation was $15.5 million, a $3.5 million increase over
fiscal year 2013 funding. Patrick also recommends funding the
Committee for Public Counsel Services at $189 million, $6.1 million
below their maintenance request. The governor does not recommend
any structural changes.
The House and Senate will take up their own versions of the
budget in April and May respectively.