Judicial, legislative impasse has lawmakers looking for solution

LITTLE ROCK (Arkansas News Bureau) -- Lawmakers hope to remedy a question over legislative and judicial powers in the upcoming session rather than allow it to go to the courts.

The issue came to light last month when the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee was briefed on a state audit questioning the state Supreme Court's legal authority to create 15 positions and use attorney license fees to pay the employees' salaries and create a retirement system for them.

The audit said that Article 16, Section 4 of the Arkansas Constitution gives the General Assembly the authority to set the number and salaries of the clerks and employees of the different departments within state government.

Supreme Court Clerk Leslie Steen and J.D. Gingrich, director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, attended the October audit committee meeting but said little about the practice, saying they couldn't comment on a legal or constitutional issue.

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