North Carolina's legal aid groups were puzzled when lawmakers this summer cut state funding designed to help poor clients with legal troubles, but now a top legislator has explained why it happened.
News Story (North Carolina)
Associated Press (AP)
August 11, 2017
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Tags: Funding: State & Local
Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid of North Carolina (LANC), Pisgah Legal Services (PLS) (North Carolina), Legal Services of Southern Piedmont (LSSP) (North Carolina)
House Speaker Tim Moore, who acknowledges pushing for the reduction in the final state government budget approved in June, blamed in part reports he received of overzealous legal aid attorneys in housing cases for the provision. Legal aid groups are defending their work.
The budget repealed a law earmarking a portion of court fees and distributing the money to three groups to help low-income people get free legal representation for things like fighting eviction notices or denials of government benefits.
There was little to no debate on the repeal of the Access to Civil Justice Act, which means state funds for the groups will fall from $2.7 million to $1.1 million. Most of what’s left over must go to help domestic violence victims and veterans. Just eight years ago, the groups had received $6.3 million combined.