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.