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Renewal of courts' hours a blessing for Iowans

With the record-breaking hot temperatures we’ve been experiencing across the state over the past few weeks, it’s great to finally have some relief.   You can’t beat Iowa in the fall.  I’m happy to be swapping the record heat and humidity for Iowa’s cool and crisp autumn temperatures. 

    Earlier this month, David Boyd, the State Court Administrator, announced that Iowa’s clerk of court offices have returned to a full weekly schedule, with office hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Like maintaining our public roadways and ensuring our public’s safety, having an accessible court system for the public is an important responsibility and duty of government.  In Iowa, nearly all court cases begin with filing a report with a clerk of court. 

    An efficient and effective court system is critical to a free and prosperous economy.  Individuals and businesses need to be confident that their rights and intellectual property will be protected, and if those things are infringed upon, they need to know they will get quick resolution.  Iowans do not expect roadblocks when it comes to access to justice.  Reports also show that the accessibility and fairness of a state’s court system is something businesses consider when looking at where to locate. 

    For all of these reasons, we were happy to work with Chief Justice Mark Cady this past legislative session to identify the resources needed to restore Iowa’s clerk of court offices to full capacity.  This marks the first time Iowa’s court system has operated at full strength since budget cuts were implemented in 2009, which had a disproportionate effect on rural counties.  I’m excited that due to strong budget management, we were able to allocate the necessary funds to ensure Iowans receive timely, high-quality access to justice. 

    In other news, each year Iowa high school juniors and seniors have the opportunity to see first-hand how the legislative process works, by becoming a legislative page.  The Iowa House, Iowa Senate, and the Legislative Services Agency each employ pages to help with various duties. 

    As the House Majority Leader, I am privileged to have my own office page each year.  My page helps me with various office duties, including constituent correspondence, answering my phone, and generally helping to ensure a smooth operation.  Pages are paid and most schools grant credit for a student’s work in the Legislature.  Many pages go on to become clerks, work in one of the Legislature’s offices, such as the Legislative Services Agency, or even become legislators themselves. 

I highly encourage young people to consider this experience.  If you know of a high school junior or senior that may be interested in applying, applications are due no later than Friday, October 4, 2013.  Interviews will be held the week of October 21.  To receive more information or an application, visit: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/Agencies/pageInfo.aspx

    As always, I appreciate hearing your thoughts and concerns.  If you have any feedback, please don’t hesitate to contact me at linda.upmeyer@legis.iowa.gov or 515-281-4618.