BOSTON, May 25, 2018 – The Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) expresses its thanks to the State Senate, which today approved $21 million in funding for civil legal aid in its FY19 Budget. This additional funding was made possible by bi-partisan support for amendment 992, co-sponsored by 27 senators, which added $2 million to the initial Senate Ways & Means budget proposal. The Senate appropriation, an increase of $3 million over FY18, is an important step forward in the Commonwealth’s effort to increase access to legal representation for low-income individuals and families facing potentially life-altering civil legal issues related to housing, health care, employment, and domestic violence, among other concerns.
“We express our deep gratitude to the Senate for its recognition of the need for additional funding to support civil legal aid programs and the vital services they provide in communities across the state. This funding increase will help more low-income residents access civil legal aid and find safety and stability as they face serious civil legal issues,” said Lonnie Powers, executive director of MLAC. “We extend special thanks to Senate Majority Leader Cynthia Creem, Senate Judiciary Chair Will Brownsberger, and the 25 senators who co-sponsored amendment 992, for their leadership on this issue. We also thank Senate President Harriette Chandler and Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Karen Spilka for their longstanding efforts to improve access to justice for our state’s most vulnerable residents.”
The Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation was established by the state legislature in 1983 to ensure that low-income people with critical, non-criminal legal problems would have access to legal information, advice and representation. MLAC is the largest funding source for civil legal aid programs in Massachusetts.