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Librarians say they are not out of the woods yet

first_imgLibrarians say they are not out of the woods yet June 15, 2004 Associate Editor Regular News Librarians say they are not out of the woods yet Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Legislators working on court funding promised they would take care of courthouse law libraries.But representatives of law libraries from Miami-Dade to Palm Beach to St. Lucie to Hernando counties say they don’t feel taken care of—they feel taken to the cleaners.“Somebody needs to tell the truth: They did not save the law libraries. I feel like (legislators) torpedoed the boat and waved vigorously from the shore while we sank,” said Karen Emerson, a Ft. Pierce attorney who organized a petition drive requesting “the restoration of funding for local law libraries.”The big change is the funding source.For 47 years, thanks to Judge Rupert J. Smith, a state representative in 1957 who successfully sponsored legislation, local law libraries didn’t have to beg from counties, but were financed by up-front add-on fees on civil case filings.But as of July 1, that funding source goes out the window with Revision 7 to Art. V because it was not considered technically an “element of the state court system” due to the fact that not every county has a law library.This year, legislators provided a new funding source: a fee up to $65 to be collected from criminal defendants, a compromise reached in the final flurry of negotiations. The Senate originally set a $150 figure, the House wanted $50.Law libraries will get a fourth of that $65 (the rest going to legal aid, teen court and other juvenile alternative programs, and other innovative court program). But no one really knows how much that will be, considering the source: criminal defendants, ranging from felons to traffic law violators.The new law says any money collected is “subordinate in priority” to other state-imposed costs under Revision 7 to Art. V, compensation to crime victims, and child support payments. And if a defendant is indigent, the clerk will defer payment of the cost.“We have become a grand collection agency. Now we get to be a collection agency on the backs of criminals,” Emerson said.Rep. Holly Benson, R-Pensacola, chair of the House Select Committee on Art. V, counters: “The big difference is this is now mandatory and there is an incentive in place for judges to collect this money.” She specifically referred to the judicial innovations that will receive a quarter of the monies to fund such special projects as mental health courts.Benson also argues that because the state took “significant expenditures off of counties,” such as paying for conflict counsel and psychiatric evaluations of defendants, “We hope counties will see fit to fund law libraries.” She also says local bar association could step in to help.“I want to make sure everyone has access. That is the most important thing,” Benson said. “Access can be in a law library in a courthouse, or in a law section of the main library.”Those arguments are not reassuring to those who treasure courthouse law libraries the way they are now.James T. Walker, an attorney on the board of trustees of the Rupert J. Smith Law Library in St. Lucie, said his research reveals the federal side is only able to collect about 6 percent of what is allowable under criminal statutes.“If we accept in good faith for now legislative assurances that this will be a viable source of revenue, and assume more optimistically the collection rate, instead of being in the neighborhood of 6 percent, is say 70 percent — a percentage we are picking out of the air arbitrarily — we are still looking at an overall shortfall of $94,000 for our library,” Walker said.“We have already taken steps to slash the printed collection by 20 percent.”Or as Emerson bluntly says: “Our collection rate for St. Lucie County from criminal cases is $38,500. Divide that by four. And which row of books do you want to keep?”What constitutes a viable law library has been a frustrating argument for Bob Riger, executive director of the Miami-Dade Law Library.Riger came to Tallahassee to lobby legislators about the importance of a fully stocked law library, not the bare-bones “basic legal materials” outlined in the House plans that called for Florida Statutes, United States Code, Florida Rules of Court, Federal Rules of Court, Beiber’s Legal Citation Dictionary, and Black’s Law Dictionary, for a total cost of $2,267.Riger has his own list of what the American Association of Law Libraries considers basic materials, costing nearly 100 times the legislative bare-bones version, at $220,132. That list includes state and administrative case law, treatises, self-help materials for pro se litigants, session laws from the state, annotations included in the statutes, administrative law, local bar publications, case law, and encyclopedias.“I tried to present to (legislators) the fact that we were a unique entity,” Riger said.“There is nothing like it, and we are doing the work that no one else is willing to do. We see ourselves—and this may sound grandiose or dramatic to some—but we see ourselves as saving lives every day. We have desperate people coming in to use our libraries: battered wives seeking an injunction, or those who have just been evicted. Unfortunately, many of the legislators looked at it as all well and good. But they said, ‘If the counties want to do that, let them pay for it.’ And some House members thought less was more.”Indeed, more than half of users of law libraries statewide are not attorneys and judges, but regular people trying to answer legal questions or represent themselves.In Palm Beach County, Law Library Manager Linda Sims says 70 percent of the people she serves are from the general public.“We will stay open, but I believe we are facing big budget cuts, which is going to cut into the heart of the library,” Sims said.“We have already laid off a part-timer. One full-time person resigned because of the concerns of the indefinite situation.”The law library housed at the Palm Beach County Judicial Center budget is $550,000, Sims said, and it is estimated they will receive $350,000 from the new funding source.“That requires the county to put in the difference, and the county has said they are not going to,” Sims said.“It’s a huge element of frustration because I know that the money is out there. It just seems the county commissioners are not really looking at the value of the law library,” Sims said.“I have 19 years here. I see the value of the law library,” she continued. “I see the service it provides. My feeling is that I’ll keep going until there is nothing to maintain. I feel like the captain that goes down with the ship.”Walker sees law libraries no less than at the very foundation of equal justice for all.“We feel as if a healthy justice system requires a liberal access by the people of the state to legal information. And that requires a healthy system of law libraries throughout the state,” Walker said.“Unfortunately, most people don’t live conveniently near a university center. And few people can afford the cost of a legal electronic data access. Without a law library at hand, most people will not have meaningful access to justice.”With a budget of more than $1 million and an estimated funding source of $170,000, Riger will seek to make up the difference from Miami-Dade County.“We’ve been negotiating with the county and putting together a budget, and nothing is official until the budget is approved,” Riger said.But that may not be an option for cash-strapped small counties.Asked if it is viable to go to the Hernando County Commission for help in funding the law library, Brooksville attorney Joe Mason responded: “Can you quote a laugh?”Mason said how much will actually be raised from the criminal cases add-on fees is “absolutely unknown,” though the Senate estimated the $65 could raise $33 million statewide, divided by four for law libraries. Benson said the House’s admittedly “optimistic number” is $38 million. That figures out to an estimated $9.5 million for law libraries, Benson said, which should cover the estimated statewide cost of libraries of $6.1 to $6.3 million.But Mason is taking a wait-and-see attitude on how much money is generated.“The funding is coming from sources that never really have been tracked before. It’s all related to criminal dockets.“I guess the question I have got to raise: Does the legislature even bother to check on what the collection rate from the criminal cases will be?” Mason asked.“I suspect the collection rate is low, low, though I can’t say that for certain. It appears to me as if it was an attempt by the legislature to say, ‘Hey, we took care of you. It’s not our fault the judges can’t collect money from the criminal defendants.’”Those who care about the quality of local libraries say they will be watching and plotting strategies for the future.“We think what is going to happen is it is going to become clear that the collection rate is not sufficiently high to be a meaningful source of revenue,” Walker said.“Therefore, we are keeping the option of going back to the legislature and asking them to revisit this matter, should that experience live down to our expectations.”last_img read more

Start reading Librarians say they are not out of the woods yet

No buses and a Luas every half hour heres how transport is

first_imgNo buses and a Luas every half hour – here’s how transport is affected by the snow The government has urged everyone in a red area to be at home from 4pm today until 12 midday tomorrow. Short URL By Paul Hosford Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article 34 Comments Image: RollingNews.ie https://jrnl.ie/3878242 18,945 Views Image: RollingNews.ie AirThe runway at Dublin Airport opened earlier, but many flights are cancelled.“Our snow and ice clearing teams have been working throughout the night in very difficult conditions to keep the runway and airfield clear.“This continues to be a challenging exercise with our teams working in difficult on the airfield.“There are cancellations today so please check latest flight information with your airline BEFORE coming to Dublin Airport.’Compacted snow on the runway at Cork Airport has led to the airport being closed until at least 8am and a number of flights are cancelledShannon Airport is fully operational, but is urging people to check with their airline before leaving for the airport.SeasAll Irish Ferries sailings from Dublin are cancelled today with the exception of the 8.55pm sailing to Holyhead, which is listed as in doubt.center_img All M3 Parkway to Clonsilla/Docklands trains are cancelledThere is no Newbridge/Hazelhatch to Grand Canal Dock servicesThe 06.30 Carlow to Dublin Heuston is cancelledCobh/Midleton: An hourly service is operatingLimerick to Ballybrophy via Nenagh: all trains cancelledWaterford to Limerick Junction: all trains cancelledThe 11.20 Dublin Heuston to Portlaoise and 11.25 Portlaoise to Dublin Heuston are cancelledThere will also b bus transfers between Limerick and Ennis due to a separate local flooding issue.The final services on all routes are:Belfast: 12.35hrs Belfast to Dublin Connolly, 13.20hrs Dublin Connolly to BelfastSligo: 11.00hrs Sligo to Dublin Connolly, 11.05 Dublin Connolly to SligoRosslare: 07.50 Rosslare Europort to Dublin Connolly, 09.40 Dublin Connolly to Rosslare EuroportWaterford: 11.00 Waterford to Dublin Heuston, 10.15 Dublin Heuston to WaterfordNorthern Commuter: 13.15 Dublin Pearse to Drogheda, 12.30 Drogheda to Dublin PearseMaynooth Commuter: 12.48 Dublin Pearse to Maynooth, 13.40 Maynooth to Dublin PearseDART: final services to be confirmed, expected 13.00hrs approxCork: 12.00hrs Dublin Heuston to Cork, 11.25hrs Cork to Dublin HeustonTralee: 13.20hrs Mallow to Tralee, 13.05hrs Tralee to CorkCork Commuter: 13.00hrs Cork to Cobh, 13.15hrs Cork to MeidletonLimerick: Connecting Limerick to Limerick Junction services to Cork trainsGalway: 11.05 Galway to Dublin Heuston, 13.00 Dublin Heuston to Galway (special)Westport: 12.45 Dublin Heuston to Westport, 09.45 Westport to Dublin HeustonPortlaoise/Kildare Commuter: 12.20 Dublin Heuston to Portlaoise, 12.25 Portlaoise to Dublin HeustonWestern Rail Corridor: 10.00hrs Ennis to Galway, 10.30hrs Galway to EnnisServices are not expected to resume before 12pm on Friday.LuasThe Luas red and green lines are operating full lines this morning, but at a frequency of one every 30 minutes. Services will stop at midday and the company will update customers on whether or not it will run tomorrow later on. Related Reads Share38 Tweet Email1 Thursday 1 Mar 2018, 7:11 AM A STATUS RED weather warning has been issued for all counties in Ireland until 3pm tomorrow.The government has urged everyone in a red area to be at home from 4pm today until 12 midday tomorrow and to not take chances on the roads.However, if you absolutely feel like you have to get around, here’s what’s running.BusDublin Bus, Bus Éireann, and school bus services are all cancelled. Some private bus services continued to run: Citylink ran services throughout the morning with the last bus leaving at 12.30pm.Dublin Bus said:“Dublin Bus will not be in a position to operate any services on Thursday 1st of March. We apologise for the inconvenience caused however this decision has been made in the interest of safety of our customers and employees.”Bus Éireann had cancelled services in Leinster and Munster, but has this morning extended that to the whole country.Rail Source: Leah FarrellRail services will operate with delays until around lunchtime.Irish Rail says services will operate up to lunchtime with the following exceptions: 28.02.18 Pictures: A snowbound zoo, snowball fights, and stunning vistas – the Beast hit Ireland and everything looked amazing 28.02.18 ‘Now is the time’: People asked to clear snow from outside their home before snow worsens 27.02.18 So how will The Beast compare to the Big Snow of ’82? Mar 1st 2018, 7:11 AM last_img read more

Start reading No buses and a Luas every half hour heres how transport is