A bill to add an additional judicial position in the Delaware County Common Pleas Court has been approved by both the Ohio Senate and House, and is on its way to the governor’s desk.
The legislation, House Bill 11, would create a domestic relations division at the court that would hear cases regarding matters like divorce, dissolution, separation, annulment, visitation and child support.
If the bills passes, a new judge would be elected in 2016 and take office on Jan. 1, 2017.
The primary sponsors of the bill said the new position would ease the burden on the court.
“Due to the population growth of Delaware County, our judges are presiding over an abundance of cases,” said State Rep. Andy Brenner, R- Powell. “This new judgeship addresses the needs of our local courts and will allow our judges to effectively manage their cases in a more timely fashion. House Bill 11 will allow Delaware County voters to vote for a new judge in the 2016 elections.”
“Allowing the people of Delaware County to vote for a new judge in the 2016 elections will alleviate some of the congestion in the courts and assist in unburdening judges of their excessive caseloads,” said State Rep. Margaret Ann Ruhl, R- Mount Vernon. “Additionally, the passage of HB 11 means that Delaware County can now comfortably continue making changes to their courthouse. We hope to see many positive changes with the implementation of HB 11.”
The bill passed unanimously in the Senate and the House unanimously agreed with the Senate’s changes, according to Brenner’s office. HB 11 will now head to Gov. John Kasich’s desk for approval.
The new position and the support staff that will come with it would cost the county about $155,000 annually, according to the Ohio Legislative Service Commission.
From 2006 to 2010, new case filings increased by 28 percent in the county’s common pleas court. New case filings jumped 11.2 percent in the juvenile division over the same period of time.
A judicial position has not been added in the county since 1995.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG. Dustin Ensinger contributed to this report.