Legislative Action Alert from BBA President J.D. Smeallie

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Thank you for your continued commitment to funding civil legal aid for low-income residents of Massachusetts. Our civil legal aid programs are sorely underfunded and the dramatic decrease in IOLTA revenue has made the state appropriation more important than ever before. We need your help.

This week, the Senate Ways and Means Committee released its budget and recommended funding for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) line item (0321-1600) at $12 million for Fiscal Year 2014. The Senate Ways and Means budget proposal is $3.5 million short of MLAC’s request of $15.5 million. Legal aid organizations will be forced to further cut services if the Senate Ways and Means recommendation is not increased.

Senator Katherine Clark filed an amendment, which will bring the MLAC line item to $15.5 million, in the Senate’s budget proposal. Although amendment numbers are not yet available, please call, email, or direct tweet your state senator today and ask for two things:

  1. Co-sponsor Senator Clark’s MLAC amendment to increase the MLAC line item to $15.5 million.  Getting your state senator to sign on to the amendment is not enough.
  2. Contact Senate President Murray and Senate Ways and Means Chair Brewer and specifically ask that each convey his or her support for Senator Clark’s MLAC amendment.

I’ve included some helpful information from MLAC . Thank you for all that you do to support access to justice for all in the Commonwealth.

Click here to find your state senator.

J.D. Smeallie
BBA President