SSB 6657



BYSenate Committee on Law & Justice (originally sponsored by Senators Nelson, Talmadge, McCaslin, Thorsness, Madsen and Niemi)



Revising criteria for setting the number of district court judges in each electoral district.



Senate Committee on Law & Justice


     Senate Hearing Date(s):January 23, 1990; January 29, 1990


Majority Report:     That Substitute Senate Bill No. 6657 be substituted therefor, and the substitute bill do pass.

     Signed by Senators Nelson, Chairman; McCaslin, Vice Chairman; Hayner, Madsen, Niemi, Rasmussen, Talmadge, Thorsness.


     Senate Staff:Vicki E. Schur (786-7415)

                February 14, 1990



                 AS PASSED SENATE, FEBRUARY 13, 1990




County district courts may be organized into one or more districts in each county.  In 1989, the King County council unified King County into one district for administrative purposes; judicial elections were still to be by electoral district.


In 1989, the Legislature adopted a new section "to provide the option for local county election of district court judges where a county district court with multiple courtrooms is unified into a single district court for operational and administrative purposes."  However, the statute provided that the electoral districts follow precinct lines and neighborhood and community boundaries, and include approximately equal population.


The King County prosecutor's office has interpreted the language to require a county-wide election, which would result in the majority of judges being from the Seattle area; three electoral districts, one for Seattle and two from the rest of the county; or any number from two to twenty four equally populated districts without regard to multiplicity of electoral districts within cities.




The number of full-time judges per district for counties with separate electoral districts shall be determined by the electoral district rather than district court district.


Electoral districts must follow neighborhood and community boundaries; they need not follow precinct lines or be of approximately equal population.


Appropriation:  none


Revenue:   none


Fiscal Note:    none requested


Senate Committee - Testified:   Judge Robert McBeth, Renton District Court; Sandra Driscoll, King County District Court Districting Committee; Ron Main, King County