The Maine Justice Action Group and Maine civil legal services providers have commenced a major legislative effort to secure funding for civil legal services in Maine. The initiative has been years in planning and preparation. With the guidance of JAG’s legislative advisory committee, and the support of Representative Barbara Cardone of Bangor, a bill (LD 214) has been submitted to the current legislature seeking a $5M funding package for Maine’s civil legal services providers.
A hearing on the bill was held before the Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary on March 12, 2019. Many speakers representing themselves and various organizations rose to speak in favor of the bill. William Harwood, Esq., President of the Maine Justice Foundation, spoke on behalf of the Maine Justice Action group and offered an eloquent and compelling endorsement of the bill. No person or organization spoke against the bill.
Although the Judiciary Committee was unable to arrive at a unanimous, unconditional vote in favor of the bill at a subsequent work session, it was clear that the committee members supported the notion of funding for civil legal service providers. The bill was tabled for further discussions. All parties are optimistic that a positive result could ultimately occur as the legislative session continues.