Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss said Monday he was postponing two of the remaining four days of court employee furloughs based on assurances from legislators that they will approve a funding request.


     Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss said Monday he was postponing two of the remaining four days of court employee furloughs based on assurances from legislators that they will approve a funding request.
     The furloughs, which closed courts throughout Kansas, were scheduled for alternate Fridays. The first one occurred April 13.
     Nuss said he'll postpone the furloughs scheduled for April 27 and May 11, based on discussions last week by the House Appropriations Committee. Those planned for May 25 and June 8 remained unchanged.
     Nuss ordered the furloughs after legislators failed to approve $1.4 million in supplemental funding to keep the courts operating through June 30. The shortfall has been blamed on fewer civil cases being filed with the courts, generating less in fees to pay for court operations.
     He said if the funding doesn't come through, he'll have to reschedule the postponed furloughs for later dates.
     Legislators have been critical of the chief justice's decision to order the furloughs, suggesting that he take the money from other accounts maintained by the judicial branch to cover the expenses until supplemental funding was approved.
     Nuss balked at doing that in early April, saying he didn't know if he had the authority to appropriate funds collected for a specific purpose to cover court operations.
     He said Monday that he hoped the funding would be approved, which would prevent court employees from losing two days of pay in one pay period.
     Nuss said he wasn't blaming anyone for the funding issues.
     "The Supreme Court is not interested in pointing fingers. We are interested in trying to help fix this mess," he said. "Today's decision is our effort to help fix it."
     Legislators return Wednesday to the Statehouse to finish the 2012 session, including work on the $14 billion state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.