In late January, Gov. Deval L. Patrick led his budget
recommendations for fiscal 2013. Recognizing the tremendous cuts
already endured by the court system, Patrick recommends level
funding for the courts and grants transferability among Trial Court
Further, Patrick recommends removing the Probation Department from
the auspices of the court and seeks to place it with parole under
the Executive Office of Public Safety.
Additionally, in a repeat of his stance last year on restructuring
the Committee for Public Counsel Services, Patrick proposes to
further expand the use of public attorneys instead of state
contracting with private counsel. Additionally, he recommends
enhanced efforts on indigency verification.
Also, Patrick allocates $12 million for the Massachusetts Legal
Assistance Corporation, a $1.5 million bump from fiscal 2012
The budget he led marks the beginning of a long and arduous
process. In April, the House is expected to debate and pass its
version of the budget. The Senate will follow suit in May with its
version. The branches will each appoint three members to a
conference committee, which is charged with hashing out the
differences between the bills.
The compromise bill is then voted upon by both branches with an up
or down vote, usually in June, and sent to the governor for his
approval, after which he has 10 days to sign the budget. Fiscal
2013 begins July 1.