House increases legal services funding

Thursday, May. 1, 2014
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Over the past few weeks, the Massachusetts Bar Association has been actively working on the pending fiscal year budget debate before the House of Representatives.

Late last night the House of Representatives passed an overall $32 billion budget for fiscal year 2015. Included in that budget was an additional $2 million bringing funding for legal services for the poor to $15 million. While short of the $17 million requested by Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC), it is a vast improvement over the $13 million originally proposed in the House Ways and Means budget. An amendment to increase MLAC's line item was filed by Rep. Ruth Balser (D-Newton) and was signed by an additional 71 representatives.

The focus now moves on to the Senate where the Senate Ways and Means Committee will release their budget later this month. Following approval of the Senate budget, both branches will appoint a conference committee charged with forging a compromise bill that will be sent to Gov. Deval L. Patrick for his signature. Fiscal year 2015 begins on July 1, 2014.