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Mass. Lawmakers Approve Court Reorganization Bill

This article is more than 9 years old.

Massachusetts lawmakers have given final approval to a bill aimed at overhauling the administration of the state's courts, including the way job applications are handled.

The compromise bill was approved in both chambers Friday on a voice vote and without debate. It now heads to Gov. Deval Patrick.

The bill creates a standard hiring process for all court and probation officers. It comes after an investigative report last year found abuses in hiring and promotions.

Applicants will be screened to make sure they have the minimum qualifications and then be subjected to a background check and behavioral interviews.

The bill also creates a new civilian administrator responsible for the oversight of the courts. It rejects Patrick's proposal to merge the Probation Department and the Massachusetts Parole Board under the control of the executive branch.

Senate Republican Leader Bruce Tarr says the reform bill aims to make the courts more efficient.

"We're going to put folks that have experience in management in charge of managing the courts, and we're going to empower those that are judges to be able to deliver justice, and so allocating each the role that their skill set would be appropriate for," Tarr said.

With reporting from The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

This program aired on July 29, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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