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Reps. Murphy, DeLeo and O'Flaherty rewarded for their service to the lawyer's lobby

The Equal Justice Coalition has recognized a number of legislators for their service to the legal community. They are:

  • House Speaker Rep. Robert DeLeo
  • Rep. Charles Murphy
  • Rep. Eugene O’Flaherty
  • Sen. Steven Panagiotakos
  • Sen. Cynthia Stone Creem
  • Sen. Patricia Jehlen

The Equal Justice Coalition is a lawyer’s lobby group which advocates for state funding for legal aid for civil actions by poor clients, to pay for representation in domestic violence actions, divorce actions, child custody etc.

EJC successfully lobbied for $10 million dollars of state funding for the legal community. According to their own press release, when it looked like legal aid would suffer the same budget cuts as our schools:

In published letters, 38 managing partners of law firms, and 107 general counsel attorneys went to bat for legal services. Lawmakers have listened, apparently rescuing MLAC from disaster. Lobbying for legal-aid is no easy task…

And today those lawmakers were rewarded.

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Massachusetts State House

Last week the legislature announced that they would be cutting local aid to cities and towns by up to 4%. This is on top of deep cuts last year which fell disproportionately on cities and towns, and spared budgets at the state level.

Legislative Republicans drafted a resolution which would level fund local aid and give cities and towns specific guidance. Passage of this resolution would help ensure that this year, needed budget cuts would happen at the state level – where they belong.

The resolution establishes:

1. Establish a minimum level of Chapter 70 and Unrestricted Local Aid equal the amount proposed by the Governor for FY’11

a. The minimum Chapter 70 appropriation must equal $4,048,324,258 for FY11; and
b. The minimum Unrestricted Local Aid appropriation must equal $936,437,803.

2. Establish a minimum level of funding for each of the following accounts to equal the amount proposed by the Governor for FY’11

a. Reimbursement to Cities in Lieu of Taxes $27.3 million
b. Regional School Transportation $40.5 million
c. Special Education Residential Schools $135 million

But on Thursday the Democratic legislative leaders ( Rep. Robert DeLeo, Sen. Therese Murray,  Rep. Charles Murphy, and Sen. Steven Panagiotakos ) blocked the resolution from even coming to the floor. The resolution was not even debated. This gives them political cover. Now we will never know who would have voted against this resolution. When your legislator comes to town to campaign this fall I’m sure they will all claim they were in support of level funding local aid. But you will never know for sure. This is why we need reform.

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