Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, Apr. 12, 2012
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House Committee’s budget proposal a mixed bag

Yesterday, the House Ways and Means Committee released its budget recommendations for the upcoming 2013 fiscal year. The committee's recommendation for Trial Court funding is approximately $554.6 million. This planned appropriation is $25 million below the courts' estimated FY13 maintenance budget of $580 million, and $14 million less than Gov. Deval Patrick's earlier recommendation. The Massachusetts Bar Association will continue to strongly press its efforts to increase funding for the courts. The budget hits the House floor for debate the week of April 23.

The House Committee also declined to endorse Patrick's FY13 plan to further expand the use of public defenders to handle criminal caseloads for the Committee for Public Counsel Services. Last year's budget mandated that 25 percent of the criminal cases overseen by CPCS must be assigned to state-employed public defenders.

Proposed funding for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) is $11 million. MLAC's current FY12 funding is $10.5 million, after the corporation received a $1 million bump in a supplemental budget appropriation.

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