A legislative bill to modernize Maine’s courts by funding an electronic filing system cleared its first hurdle Thursday, earning the endorsement of lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee.

Members of the joint House and Senate committee voted unanimously to recommend the proposal to the full Legislature.

The bill, introduced by Gov. Paul LePage and sponsored by House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport, would authorize up to $15 million in bond funding next spring to switch from the courts’ current paper filing practice.

Chief Justice Leigh Saufley urged lawmakers to approve the bill in her State of the Judiciary address last week, saying the state’s courts currently handle more than 5 million new pieces of paper that are filed each year.

Scott Dolan can be reached at 791-6304 or at:sdolan@pressherald.comTwitter: @scottddolan