Low income people at risk of being evicted or who are domestic violence victims need legal help to become safe and secure in their homes. Over the years, Legal Aid has been there to protect their rights. Unfortunately, federal funding for Legal Aid has been dramatically cut back, forcing decreases in the number of legal aid attorneys in our state (from a high of 80 down to 48). Delegate Fleischauer sponsored HB 2776 in 2013, which increased various fees to restore the lost funding, but it was tabled on third reading because of budget worries. When SB 426 was placed on the House Judiciary agenda, she saw an opportunity to amend in some fee increases that would produce a healthy, but smaller amount of funding. As a result of Delegate Fleischauer’s amendment, Legal Aid of West Virginia now receives an approximately $200,000 more every year in state funds.
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