State leaders approved a $26.1 million supplemental
appropriations bill to cover money owed to bar advocates during the
past fiscal year. Governor Charlie Baker signed the bill after it
was passed on Tuesday, July 11, by both the House and Senate.
According to the State House News Service, the legislation
provides $25.5 million in funding for private counsel assigned to
criminal and civil cases by the Committee for Public Counsel
Services and about $620,000 for court fees and costs.
Lawmakers regularly underfund the costs of providing legal
representation for indigent defendants, requiring them to go back
and supplement funds allocated in the annual budget. The Boston Globe had previously reported that
the funding shortfall this year caused some bar advocates to max
out credit cards, borrow money and postpone vacations.
State legislators have created a reserve
fund in the fiscal year 2018 budget to avoid a similar shortfall
Material from the State House News Service was used in this