Category Archives: State Funding

2016 Supplemental Budget

State Legislative Session Wrap Up

By | Advocacy, Legal Aid, State Funding | No Comments
By: Jay Doran, Education Director of the Equal Justice Coalition

A little after 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29th, the Washington State Legislature passed the 2016 Supplemental Budget and adjourned the Supplemental Session later that night.  The budget, which adds $191 million of new spending to the 2015-2017 biennium, passed with a 27-17 vote in the Senate and 78-17 vote in the House.  Thanks to the advocacy efforts of civil legal aid supporters, the Supplemental Budget includes $552,000 for the Office of Civil Legal Aid (OCLA), which administers and oversees state funding for legal aid.

OCLA requested $555,000 in the Supplemental Budget to cover unanticipated health care premium increases and non-personnel costs of its contractor the Northwest Justice Project (NJP). Without this funding, NJP would have been forced to reduce personnel and client service, with potentially devastating impact on our state’s already strained and overwhelmed legal aid system.  For more details, check out this one-pager produced by the Equal Justice Coalition.

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WA Capitol

Our State Has a New Budget! How Did Legal Aid Do & What’s Next?

By | Advocacy, Legal Aid, State Funding, Take Action | No Comments
By: Jay Doran, Education Director of the Equal Justice Coalition

Good news! Our state officially has a budget for the next two years.  Governor Inslee signed the budget into law on Tuesday, June 30th around 11:30 p.m. – successfully avoiding a partial government shutdown by about 30 minutes. And, civil legal aid received baseline funding plus a $718k maintenance increase.  Given the circumstances of this session, this can be considered relatively successful.

During this long legislative session that has lasted roughly six months and has required three special sessions, our elected officials have grappled with extremely challenging issues, such as funding K-12 education, pay raises for state employees and teachers, and a statewide transportation package (click here for more in-depth budget analysis).  In the midst of all of this, the EJC and its supporters worked hard to obtain a much needed increase for civil legal aid funding, as the need for legal aid services in our state has never been greater.

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