GRAND REPIDS, MICHIGAN (WOOD) – Western Michigan will get three new judges to help deal with the case.

This month, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a number of bills to add judges to six counties and reorganize the judiciary in four others.

“Adding judges in heavily congested areas will mean that ordinary people will be able to spend their day in court without spending all day in the waiting room. Michiganists expect and deserve a justice system that works for them, ”the governor said in a statement.

Whitmer signed Senate Bill 694 Feb. 9, providing additional judges for Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa, Press Island, Sagina and Wayne counties. The bill was introduced by State Senator John Bamstead, R-Newaygo, after Whitmer vetoed a similar bill that only applies to Ottawa County. Whitmer has said she will sign a bill that addresses issues in state counties.

Ottawa and Muskegon counties will receive a district judge. Kent County will receive a fifth judge for the inheritance court. Candidates will need to get on the ballot to consider the August primaries. The new judges will take office on January 1, 2023.

“We listen to our judges and prosecutors,” Bamstead told News 8. “We meet with them quarterly and find out what their needs are and how to make the system more efficient. We will listen to them all the time because they are experts and we are their voice in Lansing. ”

Bamsted said the bills not only help our prosecutors and judges, but also reduce delays between hearings.

“We just want to make sure the people of Michigan get a fair and fast system,” Bamstead said. “We do not want the court cases to drag on forever. All we can do to make it more effective and work with them is what we will do. ”

Ottawa County court officials have been asking for help for years. Chief District Court Judge John Van Olsburg said Holland Sentinel that they had long sought a fifth judge, saying the county’s population growth had overwhelmed the courts. The Sentinel reported that Ottawa County judges in 2019 worked an average of 55 hours a week on cases.

Adding judges to six counties was just one of several recommendations from the state court’s administrative office. It publishes an analysis every two years of the amount of work and time spent on cases in our courts. SCAO has made several other suggestions. Bamsted said lawmakers are already working on bills to put them into effect.

Two sections of the court have been reorganized

Whitmer also signed Senate Bill 654, which is reorganizing the judiciary in four Michigan counties. Currently, the 27th Judicial District covers New York and Ocean County, and the 51st Judicial District covers Mason and Lake County. On July 1, the 27th Judicial District will cover New York and Lake County, and the 51st Judicial District will cover Mason and Ocean County.

“With Newaygo and Oceana, they accounted for more than 60, 70% of the workload and population,” – said Bamstead. “It was wiser to talk to the judges so that Neveiga and Lake would go together and Ocean and Mason would go together to distribute the load.”

Bamsted also noted that the move is not costly to taxpayers.

“No additional costs for the state. It simply spreads the burden without betraying either the state or the locals. It just makes it more efficient, ”he said.

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