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Panel to begin work on Kansas court budget issues

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- A special advisory panel is beginning its examination of budget issues in the Kansas judicial branch, searching for ways to avert partial closings of courts in the coming year.

Kansas Chief Justice Lawton Nuss created the panel and planned to address members Monday as they begin to digest projected shortfalls in judicial budgets.

Nuss has said Kansas courts need an additional $8.25 million in the next fiscal year to avoid such measures as forcing employees to take unpaid leave.

State Senate Vice President Jeff King has written to the 10-member council attempting to blunt the perception that legislators are shortchanging the courts.

King says there are options for savings in the system and that legislators are open to reviewing the judiciary's needs in the 2014 session.