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Legal Services Funding Restored By Legislature’s Override of Governor Pataki’s Veto

Friday, April 28, 2006

  • Organization: Brennan Center Legal Services E-Lert
State funding for legal services was restored in New York this week, thanks to the legislature's override of Governor George Pataki's veto. Last week, Governor Pataki slashed $3 billion from the state budget, including $4.6 million in funding for civil legal aid. On returning to Albany, both houses of the state legislature overrode the governor's veto. The governor has said that some of the overrides are illegal and that he will challenge them in court. However, the override that restores legal services funding is not among those he disputes. Andrew Scherer, Executive Director of the LSC-funded Legal Services for New York City, expressed "enormous relief" upon learning that state civil legal aid funding had been restored. He says, "The loss of funds would have had a devastating effect on delivery of civil legal services throughout the state." However, New York still lags far behind other states in the amount of civil legal services funding it provides per poor person. Scherer adds, "With a new governor next year, we hope we'll see a more robust state commitment to access to justice for the poor."

Email from Kristin Brown, Empire Justice Center, Apr. 26, 2006; Tom Precious, Veto Overrides Restore $3 Billion to State Budget, Buffalo News (NY), Apr. 27, 2006; also based on original reporting by Brennan Center staff. See also Legal Services E-lert of Apr. 19, 2006.

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