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Walker budget would change how courts get money

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget would bring changes to Wisconsin’s judicial system.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that under the proposed spending plan, the state Supreme Court would receive block grants and have more leeway in how it pays for its operations and those of trial courts.

Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson said the change could have unintended effects, saying the budget doesn’t include a way to pay more than 300 court reporters. Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said it’s an oversight that would be fixed.

Wisconsin’s highest court would also directly control the state Judicial Commission, which investigates allegations of judicial misconduct. Justice Annette Ziegler, who had a complaint filed against her by the commission in 2007, said she’s not convinced it should be under Supreme Court oversight.

The budget also calls for the salary of the Supreme Court’s chief justice to be lowered to match those of other justices.

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