The State Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Senator Robert M. “Tommy” Tomlinson (R-Bucks) that would give Bucks County the option of eliminating the office of jury commissioner.
Tomlinson said Bucks County Commissioners supported Senate Bill 435, because it will provide the county with the opportunity to save money at a time when budgets are very tight and cost-saving measures are needed.
“Bucks County should be able to decide 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 may be obsolete.”
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. Senate Bill 435 would require a county to review its procedures to ensure that lists of potential jurors are a representative cross-section of the community prior to adopting a resolution abolishing the office of jury commissioner. The bill also prohibits any action in the year the office is on the ballot.
“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.”
Senate Bill 435 now goes to House for consideration.