Democrats Plan Hearing On Cuts To Legal Services For The Poor

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TRENTON – The Assembly Judiciary Committee will meet Wednesday to take testimony gauging the impact of the governor’s cuts to Legal Services of New Jersey and other legal assistance programs for the poor.

The governor cut $10 million from Legal Services of New Jersey, which provides legal assistance to low-income New Jerseyans for their civil legal problems. This cut comes after the governor cut $9.7 million from the program in 2010, creating staff cutbacks and other concerns amid rising demand for legal services and increased poverty.

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The governor also this year eliminated funding for clinical legal programs for the poor at Rutgers School of Law in Camden and in Newark. Both programs lost $200,000 under the cut.

“We need to weigh the impact of these cuts because, after all, this is a matter of fairness,” said Assembly Judiciary Chairman Peter J. Barnes III (D-Middlesex). “We all must strive to save money in these difficult economic times, but we must to do so in a manner that ensures all New Jerseyans are in position to receive justice. Everyone – not just the wealthy – should have access to proper legal representation.”

The hearing is set for Wednesday at 10 a.m. in Committee Room 12 on the 4th Floor of the State House Annex in Trenton. Audio of the hearing will be streamed live at: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/media/live_audio.asp.


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