UAW Local 2320
Texas maintains legal services
Posted On: Jul 29, 2011

The Texas State Legislature appropriated $17.5 million for civil legal aid and $7.6 indigent defense programs for the next two years.  Texas legal services program, like legal services programs across the country, have been hard hit by the reduced interest rates that have cut funding to Interest On Lawyers Trust Account (IOLTA) funds. 

In regular 2011 legislative session, advocates of Texas legal services lobbied for legislation that would make up for the shortfall on IOLTA monies by increasing some filing fees and fines.  NOLSW/UAW Local 2320 members called their state representatives and senators urging them to vote for the bill.  Unfortunately, this bill failed in the regular session. 

The governor then called for a special session of the state legislature because a budget appropriations bill did not pass during the regular session.  During the special session, several Texas Supreme Court Justices lobbied the legislature and the governor for funds for legal services in Texas.  The legislators decided to give legal services monies directly from the budget without having to raise any filing fees or fines.  Legal services programs were able to breathe a sigh of relief because without this funding, they would be looking at deep program cuts, including layoffs.

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