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Pols poised to add Family Court judges across NY, including in Nassau, Suffolk

Lawmakers are closing in on a deal to add 25 new Family Court judges statewide, including one apiece in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

After a three-month standoff, state Assembly and Senate leaders submitted a joint bill late Monday night to create the new judgeships. Twenty of the spots would be created effective Jan. 1, 2015, including the Nassau and Suffolk seats and nine in New York City. The new judges would be elected this November.

Five more would be added in upstate counties Jan. 1, 2016.

The politically split Senate had wanted to add more upstate judgeships than the Democrat-dominated Assembly proposed, accounting for the roadblock.

Funding for 20 judgeships was included in the 2014-15 state budget. The five new ones likely would be funded next year.

Both houses have to approve the Family Court bill before they adjourn for the year, scheduled for Thursday. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo also would have to sign it.

A coalition of activist groups hailed the agreement.

“The legislation to add 25 new Family Court judges is essential to take on the serious challenge of addressing the current backlog that has led to long delays for families, victims of violence and children -- and has effectively closed the doors to justice for those who need the courts most,” said Denise Kronstadt, advocacy director for the Fund for Modern Courts.

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