Baker signs FY16 budget; House and 
Senate vote on overrides

Issue August 2015 By Lee Ann Constantine

Gov. Charlie Baker signed the state's final fiscal year 2016 budget on July 17, which included vetoes of some of the funding allocated by the Legislature to the courts. Baker's budget provided the Trial Court with an approximately $628 million allocation, which court officials said would "preserves basic court operations," but could restrict other programs. On July 30, the House of Representatives and Senate voted to override the governor's trial court vetoes restoring funding of the trial court to $631.5 million for fiscal year 2016.

Baker's budget also vetoed the outside section that would have provided a pay raise for some private bar advocates. The House of Representatives voted to restore to the budget the MBA-backed compensation increase for assigned private counsel raising the hourly pay from $50 to $53 in the District and Juvenile Courts and for Children and Family Law Cases from $50 to $55. However, the Senate did not vote to restore the compensation increase. The MBA will continue to work to attain greater increases throughout the criminal justice system.

The final FY2016 budget included $17 million in funding for civil legal aid -- an approximately $2 million increase over last year's levels.