Pending Funding Issues That Need Your Support:
Currently, there are two areas of the FY 23-25 operating budgets passed by the Senate and House which affect civil legal aid funding across the state that you might be interested in acting on.
Tenant Appointed Counsel Program (AKA Right to Counsel in Evictions)
Let Senate leaders, budget writers, and policy leaders know that you respectfully and urgently request that the final FY 23-25 operating budget fully fund the Office of Civil Legal Aid's Tenant Defense Program at the same amount passed by the House's budget: $4.42 million dollars.
The level passed by the House funds the program at staffing levels requested by OCLA and funds a 4% vendor rate adjustment. However, the current Senate-passed budget funds the program at just $2.8M. The Senate budget is insufficient to protect the tenant defense program from uninterrupted client service capacity. If enacted, it will result in the loss of existing positions.
Civil Legal Aid and Other Essential Services for Victims of Crime
Federal crime victim services funding is being drastically reduced across the state. Part of this funding provides civil legal aid services to victims of crime (approximately 8.7%). Unless this loss is mitigated, starting July 1, 2023, this funding will be reduced by 34% and will result in the loss of more than 12 FTE attorneys (a loss of 34% or $1.7M/FY).
The House budget provides $20.6M/FY to help mitigate the loss of federal funding, including civil legal aid services. But the Senate budget does not appropriate funding for civil legal aid as one of the included programs to serve crime victims. Civil legal aid is a vital service for victims of crime and it's important that this funding is included.
Request that the conferees incorporate the House number into its final operating budget.