The Senate Local Government Committee has approved legislation sponsored by Senator Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks) that would give Bucks County the option of pursuing elimination of the Office of Jury Commissioner.
In addition to approving Senate Bill 435, the committee also endorsed Senate Bill 1117, which would give all counties the option, with voter approval.
“Bucks County and all Pennsylvania’s county governments should have the choice to determine whether they want to continue to staff the position of jury commissioner,” Tomlinson said. “As a result of new technology, the job of jury commissioner has become obsolete in many of our counties. During tough economic times, local governments could save tax dollars by eliminating this outdated position. I am confident that this legislation would not impact the integrity of the jury selection process in the counties.”
Tomlinson said jury commissioners were once charged with preparing a countywide roll of prospective jurors, sending out jury duty notices and ensuring compliance with those notices. Tomlinson said those have now been taken over by the courts and computers in Bucks and other counties.
“If a county already has a system in place that electronically creates a jury selection list, it may not be necessary and fiscally responsible to pay a commissioner to administer a largely automated process,” Tomlinson said. “As counties look to cut costs and increase efficiencies, this is one area that will help to accomplish this goal.”
The bills now go to the full Senate for consideration.