A plan to change up the number of Iowa magistrates is still awaiting Governor Culver’s signature to become law. It would cut the number of magistrates in 16 rural Iowa counties while raising the number in the state’s ten most populous counties.
Attorney and magistrate Rick Dunn, of Hardin County, says a lawsuit was filed to block the move and it will be subject of an Iowa Supreme Court hearing on May 18th. Dunn says the "wild card" is if the governor takes action on the bill prior to the hearing or if a settlement is reached before the hearing date.
He says because it’s an active lawsuit, "you just never know what may occur." Dunn calls the legislative move significant, but it hasn’t yet had an impact. Dunn says: "That legislation, however, is currently pending on the governor’s desk. It’s unclear whether he will sign it or not. If he signs it, that’s real good news. If not, then, that’s not as good a news of course for the 16 (counties) affected."
Dunn says he and the other attorney who filed suit, Warren Bush, dismissed the case against Iowa Court Administrator David Boyd without prejudice. The move allows the option to later refile the suit.
Dunn says that was done in response to the legislature taking action to correct the problem. The suit alleges Boyd did not follow state law when he pressed to reallocate Iowa’s 206 magistrates.