JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri’s top judge is asking the General Assembly to fund overtime pay for court clerks.
In his annual State of the Judiciary speech, the Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court, Paul Wilson, said court clerks are working long hours to meet the obligation to expunge non-violent marijuana offenses after voters approved recreational marijuana.
“They understand the importance of the work they do, but having pride in what you do,” Wilson said. “Just won’t fill the gas tank or pay for child care, and it sure doesn’t buy any groceries.”
Under Amendment 3, counties have until June to expunge misdemeanor marijuana offenses and December for felony cases.
“We are asking you to fund the overtime court clerks are already working to meet the unprecedented obligations imposed by the passage of Amendment 3 last fall,” Wilson said.
Besides overtime, Wilson is also asking for a pay raise for 3,000 court employees and money to increase mental health resources.
“Too often, we are confronted with individuals manifesting mental health conditions so profound they are not even competent to stand trial,” he said.
Like last year’s speech, he’s asking lawmakers once again to pass legislation to protect the state’s judges.
“Violence and threats of violence toward judges and their families are increasing every day,” Wilson said.
He asked the General Assembly for assistance in promoting trust in the state’s courts.
“If you want to tell your constituents we got it wrong, that’s your right, but when you do, take a minute to explain that,” Wilson said. “Even when you think we got it wrong, you know judges are just public servants like you, doing their best to decide cases based on the facts and their best understand of the law. I’m asking for your help in preserving and promoting the people’s trust in the rule of law and their judicial system. I doubt you agree with every decision the seven of us make, let alone the hundreds of thousands of decisions made every year by trial judges all around this state.”
Wilson’s last request of Wednesday morning was timely and one shared by many Missourians with Super Sunday looming ahead.
“May God continue to bless the great state of Missouri, and of course, may God bless Patrick Mahomes’ right ankle,” he said.
Wilson also announced two Missouri Supreme Court judges will retire this year due to the state Constitution’s requirement to retire by the age of 70.