Description: Historically, counties had the primary responsibility for (1) funding the trial courts, (2) constructing and maintaining court facilities, and (3) employing most court employees. However, beginning in 1997, the Legislature adopted a series of statutory changes that shifted or realigned each of these responsibilities from the counties to the state. The Legislature sought to create a trial court system that would be more uniform in terms of standards, procedures, and access to justice. Our analysis indicates, however, that a number of existing barriers have prevented the trial court realignment from fully achieving the expressed goals and objectives of the Legislature. We believe that the Legislature should seek to eliminate these barriers and provide the state with greater control and responsibility over trial courts. We recommend that the state assume true operational control over many critical aspects of trial court operations for which it already has financial responsibility, such as trial court employee classifications and benefits. We also propose that the state establish a comprehensive trial court performance assessment program and establish a more efficient division of responsibilities between the Administrative Office of the Courts and trial courts.