On May 16, the Senate Ways and Means Committee released its
$32.2 billion fiscal year 2013 budget proposal. Included in the
proposal was $561.8 million in funding for the Massachusetts Trial
Court, $1.8 million more than the budget proposed by the House. The
Senate budget also included full transferability for the newly
appointed court administrator.
Additionally, the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation was
funded at $11 million, $3.5 million below MLAC's requested amount
necessary to restore critical legal services for low-income
citizens. Sen. Cynthia Stone Creem (D-Newton), senate chair of the
Joint Committee on the Judiciary, filed an amendment to add $3.5
million to MLAC's budget.
The Committee for Public Counsel Services account was filed at
$162.4 million by the Senate, compared to $162.2 by the House. Both
branches have refrained from further expanding the ratio of staff
counsel to assigned private counsel.
At the time of print, the Senate was poised to begin debate on the
budget proposal. Following the Senate debate, each branch will
appoint three members to a joint conference committee to reconcile
the two budgets. The conference committee will produce one final
conference budget to be sent to both branches for an up-or-down
vote without further debate. The governor may approve the budget in
part by making a number of vetoes to the document. Fiscal 2013
begins on July 1, 2012.
Look for further status updates on the state budget, and any
applicable calls to action, in the July issue of Massachusetts