Earlier this week, the Massachusetts Senate adopted a budget amendment to increase the funding for civil legal aid programs in fiscal year 2023.
At press time, the Senate was wrapping up work on its $49.68 billion budget for fiscal year 2023. During its deliberations, the Senate adopted an amendment to increase civil legal aid funding to $41 million, a $1 million increase over the Senate Ways and Means Budget proposal.
“We are grateful to Senate President Karen Spilka, Leader Cynthia Creem and Chair Jamie Eldridge for their leadership and support for increased funding for legal aid,” said Martin W. Healy, Chief Legal Counsel and Chief Operating Officer.
Passage of this amendment brings the Senate in line with the House budget proposal for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC), which was also $41 million — a much-needed $6 million increase over FY22 funding. Civil legal aid is a vital component of the commonwealth’s COVID-19 recovery. Legal aid attorneys help resolve vital issues for our most vulnerable citizens related to housing, health care, unemployment, domestic violence and more.
Once the Senate finalizes its budget proposal, a Conference Committee made up of members from both branches will reconcile the two budgets into one proposal prior to the start of FY23 on July 1.