The bill addresses issues related to the state commission on judicial performance and the various district commissions on judicial performance (state commission, district commissions, or collectively all commissions), including:
- Procedures and duties common to all commissions are combined in a more user-friendly fashion;
- The current membership of all commissions is left in place as-is until February 1, 2019, at which time all commission members must be reappointed. The structure for appointing members to all commissions is streamlined and, if an original appointing authority fails to fill a vacancy within 45 days, the governor shall make the new appointment.
- Duties of all commissions are streamlined, and both the state and multiple district commissions may work collaboratively to develop uniform judicial evaluation procedures and techniques, systemwide judicial training programs, and guidelines and procedures for the continuous collection of data for use in the judicial evaluation process;
- The state commission is tasked with developing surveys to provide to persons who are affected by justices and judges and to develop guidelines and procedures to make such surveys readily available to those persons. The state commission shall develop guidelines and procedures to provide attorneys, pro se litigants, and clients with accessible and timely opportunities to review the surveys.
- The bill adds senior, retired judges who have returned to temporary judicial duties per contract with the judicial department, as allowed by statute, to the list of judges that commissions are to evaluate;
- Judicial performance evaluation criteria is retained, as is the requirement for all commissions to perform election-retention-year evaluations as well as initial and interim evaluations. Narratives and recommendations stemming from such evaluations are still required, and the option to develop an individual improvement plan for a judge who receives a 'does not meet performance standard' recommendation is authorized.
- The state commission is required to gather and maintain statewide data and post a report of the data on its website at least 30 days prior to each retention election; and
- Beginning in January 2019, and every 2 years thereafter, the judicial department shall include a summary of the commissions' activities in the department's 'State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent (SMART) Government Act' presentation to the joint judicial committee.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)