HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut lawmakers have averted a looming $4.5 million cut to legal aid for the poor that was expected to curtail services for the state’s neediest residents.
The legislature approved a plan to continue using increased court filing fees to fund legal aid, as part of a massive budget bill adopted just before the legislative session ended Wednesday. The increased fees approved in 2012 to stabilize legal aid were set to expire next year.
Steve Eppler-Epstein executive director of Connecticut Legal Services, says the $4.5 million cut would have forced the layoffs of about a quarter of the legal aid staff in the state.
Legal aid advocates say the cut would have affected hundreds of people seeking help with important legal cases involving domestic violence, eviction and health care.