Missouri’s court system needs better pay for its workers and to, at the least, preserve current funding. That was the message Wednesday from Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Wilson, as he delivered the annual State of the Judiciary Address to the Legislature.
He asked lawmakers to pass the governor’s proposed 8-point-7-percent pay hike:
“They understand the importance of the work they do, but having pride in what you do just won’t fill the gas tank or pay for childcare — and it sure doesn’t buy any groceries.”
Wilson also asked lawmakers to fund overtime pay for court clerks trying to meet the legal requirements of the recreational marijuana ballot initiative passed last fall. He also wants them to pass bills that limits personal private information on judges being available to the public, as violent attacks against judges have risen across the U-S in recent years.
“When I spoke to you last year, I recited a frightening list of deadly attacks, both inside Missouri and outside. I won’t repeat them. This session, you will be considering several bills aimed at protecting judges’ private information, and I urge you to give them your most careful consideration,” he told the assembly.
Justice Wilson also wants the State House and Senate to renew the $7 filing fee for court cases.
“This $7 filing fee, which has never gone up in the 30 years we’ve had it, provides an essential part of the funding for an essential part of our work. I urge you — actually, I’m begging you — to renew it this session.”
Wilson ended his annual address with a reference to the Super Bowl: “May God bless you,” “the great state of Missouri,” and “Patrick Mahomes’ right ankle.”