President Obama Signs Senator Lankford D.C. Transparency Bill Into Law
WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday, President Obama signed into law a bill that was written by Senator James Lankford – the District of Columbia Judicial Financial Transparency Act. This law increases judicial transparency for Washington, DC court judges by requiring they meet the same financial disclosure thresholds as federal judges, and it modernizes multiple court functions. Lankford introduced the Senate version of this bill in May of 2016.
“I am pleased that this judicial transparency bill has been signed into law. It promotes greater transparency for DC judges and it meets the DC courts’ needs for modernization,” said Lankford. “I appreciate Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton for working to get our bill through the House so that we can ensure that the federally-funded local courts of DC are using taxpayer dollars efficiently while serving the residents of the District of the Columbia.”
The law increases the dollar amount that must be reported for DC judges and it makes the reports available to the public. The law also makes other much-needed improvements to the courts, including: accepting payments by credit card, allowing magistrate judges to serve in the Probate Divisions, increasing the amount-in-controversy allowed for Small Claims cases, and delegating authority for senior judges to approve court-appointed attorney vouchers. Senator Lankford worked with the Washington, DC Courts to make improvements in these areas – some of which have been ignored since the 1970’s. Lankford believes that because DC court judges are paid by the federal government, they should be held to the same standards of disclosure as all federal judges.
Senator Lankford is chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform and Federal Management, which maintains jurisdiction over the federal workforce and the District of Columbia.