Washington, D.C. – On May 8, 2023, the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) sent a letter to leaders of the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committees urging them to allocate robust funding for the nonprofit Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in the FY2024 budget. LSC supports equal access to justice by awarding grants to nonprofit organizations that provide civil legal services to those in need and serves as the nation’s single largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans.
The letter, sent on behalf of a bipartisan coalition of 37 state and territory attorneys general, highlights the critical work performed by LSC’s grantees across all states and territories of our nation. NAAG and its members have advocated for adequate funding of LSC in policy letters sent to Congress in several previous fiscal years.
“The powerful impact of LSC’s work cannot be overstated, particularly in rural areas that tend to have the highest poverty rates in our country,” write the attorneys general in the letter. “LSC’s grantees work to provide on-the-ground legal assistance to well over a million Americans annually: veterans struggling to access their benefits, seniors who have been defrauded, children in the foster system, renters facing eviction, victims of domestic violence, farmers struggling financially, individuals facing substance addiction, victims of weather-related events . . . the list is long and growing, but the legal needs of millions of Americans continue to be unmet due to a history of chronic underfunding.“
The broad bipartisan appeal to Congress coalesces support around access to basic civil legal services for those Americans who face economic or other barriers to adequate legal counsel. LSC-funded programs assist those whose household incomes fall at or below 125% of federal poverty guidelines and are an essential component of comprehensive relief in communities ravaged by natural disasters. Seventy percent of clients served by LSC grantees are women struggling to keep their children safe and their families intact.
Attorneys general from the following states and territories signed the letter: Alaska, American Samoa, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
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The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) is the nonpartisan national forum for America’s state and territory attorneys general and their staff. NAAG provides a community for members to collaboratively address issues important to their work and resources to support attorneys general in protecting the rule of law and the United States Constitution.