The state budget gives one-time boost to programs that give poor Mainers legal aid in civil cases

The state budget gives one-time boost to programs that give poor Mainers legal aid in civil cases

LEGAL
The newly signed state budget includes a one-time $4 million boost for a program that provides low-income Mainers with legal representation in civil cases – a big addition to the baseline $650,000 the program currently receives each year. But the funding in the budget is significantly less than what the Legislature approved. Lawmakers passed a bill, sponsored by Anne Carney, D-Cape Elizabeth, that called for an $11 million investment over two years and an ongoing appropriation of $7.8 million a year – and was projected to help an estimated 10,000 additional Mainers. Carney, an attorney who used to volunteer with a nonprofit that provides legal services, said she was pleased that her bill received funding, even though increasing the baseline funding would offer more stability to people needing legal help.…
Read More
Our View: Civil legal aid is falling short, hurting all of us

Our View: Civil legal aid is falling short, hurting all of us

LEGAL
Too many Maine residents aren't able to get the legal representation they need. No, we're not talking about those charged with crimes — though we absolutely could be. Instead, we're talking about people who need civil legal aid to help them entangle a variety of messy problems with the potential to upset their lives. Legislators are struggling to fix an indigent criminal defense program that they've been allowed to fall apart. Filling the gaps in aid for civil complaints, however, is much easier. A bill before the Legislature is asking for $11.2 million over the next two years to be distributed through the Civil Legal Defense Fund, which supports the work of providers of civil legal services in Maine. Unlike the criminal side, there is no constitutional right to representation…
Read More