Lawmaker Seeks Savings In Dallas County - Texas Scorecard

A Dallas-area lawmaker filed legislation that would do away with three under-utilized courts, saving Dallas County taxpayers an estimated $1.5 million annually.

Senate Bill 985 filed by State Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas) would abolish Dallas County Courts at Law Nos. 3, 4, and 5. In a statement released by Huffines, he points to reports that detail a 70 percent decrease in court filings between 2007 and 2015.

“Providing for a system of courts is a critical function of government that ensures justice is served,” Huffines said. “Taxpayers also deserve an efficient system of courts that serves the public well and without excess cost, bureaucracy, or administration.”

Since county courts are creatures of the state’s judicial system, legislation is required to dissolve them. Often times, government agencies will retain historic staffing levels, despite a reduction in demand for their services. Such is the case with several local courts.

“After carefully reviewing caseload information and costs for the five current county courts at law in Dallas, I have come to the conclusion that three of those courts are no longer necessary. Justice can and will be served by the two remaining courts, and taxpayers will benefit from more efficient and less costly government.”

The legislation would divvy up the pending and future cases for the three courts to the two remaining courts.

Huffines has a strong record of tackling other unnecessary layers of local government, including an archaic education agency (Dallas County Schools) that’s morphed into a wasteful and redundant school bus vendor. Huffines has filed legislation to dissolve the agency, which would save residents millions in local taxes each year.