Chief Justice announces court pilot programs

Nebraska Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Heavican says the judicial branch is testing a new, regional approach to court services to improve efficiency.

Heavican told lawmakers in his fifth annual State of the Judiciary address Thursday that the courts are launching a series of pilot programs this year, with help from the National Center for State Courts. Heavican says one program will allow service-sharing across county lines, which is intended to preserve rural jobs while easing the workload for courts in Omaha and other heavily populated areas.

He says Judge Anne Paine of McCook is conducting another pilot program in the 11th judicial district, in which one employee will oversee the collection of fines from all courts in the 17-county area.