The Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court says the judicial branch is strapped and needs a nearly seven-and-a-half percent boost in its annual budget. Chief Justice Louis Lavorato delivered the annual “State of the Judiciary” message to lawmakers this morning.Lavorato asked legislators to provide enough money to hire about 50 new court employees. He says without more money, they may have to cut services.Some district court judges have ordered offices to close an hour early so overloaded employees could dedicate the last hour of their day to dealing with casework rather than dealing with the public. Republican legislators plan to pass a law calling for state government business to be conducted in English. Lavorato didn’t directly refer to the “English Only” bill, but reminded legislators he is a first-generation Italian-American. He says Iowa must be vigilant to protect the rights of everyone in the courtroom regardless of what language they speak.Lavorato has convened a task force to find out if the courts need more interpreters.Lavorato took over as chief justice this past summer.