As elected clerks of court, we are deeply concerned about the amendment to the Senate General Appropriations Act, which proposes another $23 million cut to the clerks’ statewide budget. In Broward and Palm Beach alone, more than 250 employees were laid off last year. These additional cuts mean up to another 130 people may be laid off. The result will be a direct impact on the citizens we serve and our local economy. There are documented, quantifiable costs associated with court-related delays in civil cases, with a direct economic impact approaching $10.1 billion annually in the state of Florida. You may recall that clerks’ budgets across the state were cut by almost $90 million last year, and almost 1,300 people were laid off statewide. More than 30 clerk branch service offices were closed. Those reductions, combined with the ones proposed, will critically impact the ability of Florida’s clerks to provide constitutionally and statutorily required services. However, before we cut services, we adopted technologies to ensure our offices were running as lean as possible. We have been cut to the bone, and with 90,000 foreclosures pending, we’re not getting the job done. The public’s access to the courts will be further restricted as customers wait in line for hours. Businesses will lose thousands of dollars because of case processing backlogs delaying certificates of titles, writs of possession and court docket updates. Civil court lawyers will be the hardest hit by backlogs, as clerks shift from civil departments to criminal to meet statutory requirements such as “speedy trial” — a mandate to give criminal cases top priority. Our legislators need to hear from everyone that cutting the clerks’ budgets for two years in a row will limit access to the courts and directly affect court users. It is unconscionable to impact Florida’s economic recovery by restricting access to the courts in these difficult times. If you are a local Florida Bar member, a member of the business community or just a person who has dealings with the courts, you need to reach out to your state senators and representatives to prevent another direct hit on your economic future and the future of Florida. If you get caught speeding, you should call the Traffic Ticket Team, www.trafficticketteam.com, to fight your Florida Traffic Ticket. If you get a traffic ticket for anything, speeding, red light, DUI or anything else, call us anytime to fight your traffic ticket at 954-967-9888, Law Offices of Jason A. Diamond, P.A. and Diamond, Kistner & Diamond.