By SEAN WHALEY – Las Vegas Review-Journal
CARSON CITY — A trend of fewer traffic tickets being written by police around the state may be a boon for motorists, but it is creating a financial crisis for the Nevada Supreme Court.
Chief Justice James Hardesty recently told a panel of state lawmakers the court will go broke by May 1 if the Legislature does not provide emergency funding to keep it functioning.
The court receives millions of dollars each year for its budget from assessments on traffic and parking tickets that range from $30 to $120 per citation.
But the number of tickets written by law enforcement agencies around the state has been declining steadily, partly because state troopers have focused on violations more likely to lead to crashes. In 2010, there were 615,267 citations issued statewide. In 2014, that number fell to 484,913, a decline of more than 21 percent in a five-year period.
As a result, revenue from the assessments is dropping fast, too.
“If this is not addressed by May 1, the court will not have sufficient cash to operate,” Hardesty said in his testimony to lawmakers. “I believe the Legislature has a constitutional obligation to fund the judicial branch of government. Do you want me to close the judicial branch of government at the state level on May 1?”
It Ain’t Just Belton, or Louisiana