Rep. Mary Dye’s temporary judge bill heading to the governor

A bill authored by Rep. Mary Dye that would set in place procedures to allow temporary judges to fill vacancies in single-judge courts is on its way to the governor after the state House of Representatives concurred Monday to a Senate amendment.

House Bill 1825 stems from a controversial case in 2019 in which a local judge took a leave of absence after being charged with crimes related to sexual misconduct in the workplace.

“That vacancy created some problems and delays in court cases. Justice delayed is justice denied,” said Dye, R-Pomeroy. “To fill the silence in the law, I worked with the office of the administration of the courts and judges with experience to draft this legislation. This bill ensures that gap is filled so cases can be heard in a timely manner and to reduce the possibility of a backlog on the court's docket.”

The bill would clarify that a presiding judge pro tempore may be predesignated by the chief justice of the state Supreme Court to step into the courtroom of a single judge court if the presiding judge becomes unavailable, incapacitated, ill, or dies.

“The Senate amendment is not controversial. It just requires the chief justice to consult with local legislative authorities before appointing a temporary judge to fill a vacancy in a single judge court,” said Dye. “I am grateful for the support to get this bill to the governor for his signature.”

The 2022 legislative session is scheduled to adjourn Thursday, March 10.


Washington State House Republican Communications