Governor signs Rep. Dye’s temporary judge bill into law

With the stroke of his pen, Gov. Jay Inslee gave final approval to a bill by Rep. Mary Dye that will allow a temporary judge to be appointed when there’s a vacancy in a single-judge courtroom.

House Bill 1825 was among 39 House and Senate bills signed by the governor Thursday, exactly one week after the state Legislature adjourned it’s 60-day regular session for 2022. The measure requires the chief justice of the state Supreme Court to consult with the local legislative and executive authorities before removing or appointing a presiding judge pro tempore to a single judge court. Appointments may be made in the case of illness, incapacity, resignation, death, or unavailability of the presiding judge of a single judge court.

“There are more than 112 single judge courts in Washington state. Unfortunately, there’s been no clear method of filling a vacancy on these benches when something unexpected happens to the presiding judge. It’s taken weeks to months to fill those vacancies. Justice delayed is justice denied. That’s why this bill is so important,” said Dye, R-Pomeroy.

The bill also designates the chief justice to appoint another judicial officer or qualifying person to serve if the previous presiding judge pro tempore resigns, is removed from office, or is no longer able to serve.

“By having a system in place to ensure a judge is always on the bench in a single-judge courtroom, it will reduce the backlog of unheard cases and uphold the state’s requirement for a speedy trial so justice can be carried out,” added Dye.

The measure takes effect June 8.


Washington State House Republican Communications