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      Progress on reduction of judgeships

      There may be fewer judges on the bench if state legislation working its way through Lansing is approved. State House Bill 5106 was introduced in October. It's just now seeing some progress.

      Michigan State Representative Phil Cavanagh introduced the bill to the House Judiciary Committee on October 19. The bill seeks to eliminate judges across the state through attrition in an effort to reduce state expenses. Marquette County has five judges, and under the proposal could lose one district and one circuit judge.

      However, on December 14, the bill passed the House with an amendment.

      "The amendment eliminates only the circuit judge position but not the district judge position," said Circuit Judge Jennifer Mazzuchi. "So at this point, we understand that the House bill has now been sent to the Senate and is in their Judiciary Committee."

      It's currently unknown when the Senate will decide on this version of the House bill, which only affects Marquette County. However, nearly every county could lose judges.