- Associated Press - Friday, May 15, 2020

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky’s court system will impose a statewide hiring freeze and suspend out-of-state travel to reduce expenses as the coronavirus drives down revenues, the state’s chief justice said.

Cost cutting across the judicial branch is aimed at mitigating possible furloughs and layoffs in coming months, Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. said Thursday.

“Over the last two months, our primary focus has been on modifying court operations in a way that would ensure social distancing while allowing us to provide essential court services,” Minton said. “Now we must turn our attention to the financial impact COVID-19 is having on the economy.”

Travel exceptions might be granted if paid for with federal funds or by an outside agency or association and if social distancing measures will be in place, he said.

Minton said the judicial branch’s one-year budget for the next fiscal year beginning July 1 was better than anticipated but does not fully fund court operations. Also, he’s anticipating being asked to return some funding this fiscal year due to a major drop in state revenues, he said.



The court system has years of experience in coping with cost-saving measures, he said.

“We’re ready to use the knowledge and insight we gained then to navigate our way now,” Minton said. “I’m confident in our ability to pull together during this difficult time as we carry out the important work of the courts.”

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