Conroe - Montgomery Edition | February 2021

NEW-COURT TIMELINE After approval from the commissioners, the new court at law must advance through several steps before it is formally created.



Sept. 1 Effective date for when new court can begin

Late 2020 Montgomery County board of judges begins discussion of new court need

Jan. 12 Montgomery County commissioners hear proposal for creating two new courts at law

Jan. 26 Commissioners approve one new court; request advances to Texas Legislature

May 31 Court officially created if approved by Texas Legislature Potential cost to establish court: $725,000- $850,000

the commissioners should expect a request for a new district court,” Laird said. Laird added she thinks the addition of the new court was a responsible decision by the Commis- sioners Court. “Our mental health cases are skyrocketing,” she said. “They are multiplying exponentially. That is one of the places we need relief, and I think they are doing what is in the best interest of the people of the county to make sure there are judges to hear these cases in a timely manner.” Adriana Rezal contributed to this report. If commissioners appoint a judge, the court can begin operating at this time. If commissioners do not appoint a judge, primary elections are held March 2022. • If both a Democrat and Republican choose to run, a general election will be held in November 2022. • If an election was held in November, the winning candidate will take office Jan. 1, 2023 .


around to create more and better courtroom space and more secure court- room space,” Noack said. “It is something we are going to need to consider.” Laird said she believes the discussion about where to put future courts needs to happen, as the county’s court system will need to keep up with a growing population. “I think this lets itself to a larger conversation we have been having with [the county] about the inad- equacies of the courthouse complex for growth, space and security,” Laird said. In a separate phone interview, Laird said the board of judges will need to determine moving forward what kind of cases need to be put into the court. “Judge [Tracy] Gilbert, the district court adminis- trative judge, was in the presentation, and he indi- cated during the hearing that two years from now,

about $850,000. The costs associated with the court largely come in the form of salaries for the judge, court administrator, court coordinator, and county and district clerks, she said. Funding for the court will need to be ready by Sep- tember at the earliest if the commissioners choose to appoint a judge to fill the created seat, she said. Another concern county officials spoke about is where the new court will go. For the time being, Laird said the old Child Protective Services court, which acts as an overflow court and where the Com- missioners Court used to meet, has enough space to fit the new court. During the Jan. 12 meeting, Precinct 3 Commis- sioner James Noack said he was not inclined to build a one- or two-story building behind the current courthouse. “I think we would need to build another building just like [the courthouse] and shuffle a lot of things

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