CA bill would raise jury duty pay to $100 a day for low to moderate income earners

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California bill would raise jury duty pay to $100 a day for low to moderate income earners

STATEWIDE – Assemblyman Phil Ting introduced AB 881, Wednesday, that would pay $100 a day to jurors who make less than 80 percent of the area median income of the county in which the superior court is located.

The bill cites the Superior Court of San Francisco’s Be the Jury Pilot Program that began March 2022. The program increased the daily juror stipend from $15 per day to $100 per day for low- to moderate-income San Franciscans who are summoned to serve on juries but cannot serve because they would face a financial hardship. 

The results after six months found that:

  • The majority of the pilot participants – 81%, stated that they could not have served without the $100 per day stipend;
  • Program participants reflected the racial demographics of the broader San Francisco population. 63% of participants identified as people of color;
  • Participants reported having learned about the importance of jury service and encouraged the continuation of the program to support other jurors; 
  • Program participants had a household income of just under $40,000, on average. The area median income in San Francisco for a single household is $97,000.

“We hope that this effort in San Francisco informs how other localities might think about increasing juror compensation as a way to increase juror diversity and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to have a jury of their peers,” says a statement on the Financial Justice Project San Francisco website.

RELATED: SB County court reporter shortage – although court reporters can earn $100,000, certification is tough

New statewide bill

Under the proposed bill, low to moderate income jurors would also have to meet one of the following requirements to receive $100 a day:

  • The employer does not compensate for any trial jury service;
  • The employer does not compensate for trial jury service for the estimated duration of the criminal jury trial;
  • The trial juror is self-employed;
  • The trial juror is unemployed.

A juror who is employed by a federal, state, or local government entity, or by any other public entity and who receives regular compensation while performing jury service is not eligible for the pay increase.

The bill is expected to be heard in committee March 17, 2023.

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