Senate approves $400 million for legal services, removes restrictions

Last night, the Senate, by a vote of 71-28, passed the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) bill (HR 2847), which provides $400 million for the Legal Services Corp. and removal of federal restrictions on state, local and private funds held by LSC grantees (including Maryland Legal Aid), excepting abortion-related and prisoner representation cases. The Senate funding level of $400 million is $40 million less than that provided by the House of Representatives in its bill passed earlier in the summer (and $10 million more than current funding).  The House bill did not remove the restriction on non-LSC funds, but did remove the restriction banning LSC recipients from seeking attorneys’ fees. The Senate bill did not remove the attorneys’ fees restriction, but such fees could be sought in cases brought using non-LSC sources of funding if the Senate version is enacted into law.  Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), who chaired a hearing last year on closing the justice gap, spoke on the Senate floor in support of the increase.

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One response to “Senate approves $400 million for legal services, removes restrictions

  1. Herman Hamilton

    I follow a lot of Senate hearings and Ben NEVER misses an opportunity to advocate for us or the principles we stand for.

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