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.