Md. Attorney General requests some of FY22 budget to be dedicated to civil legal aid
MARYLAND – Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and his COVID-19 Access to Justice Task Force are calling on Governor Larry Hogan to help support civil legal aid. Civil legal aid is free legal help for those who are living in low or middle income situations. “They haven’t been able to pay their rent. They haven’t been able to get unemployment insurance. They have difficulty finding other types of government aid like aid for food, just basic income issues,” said Attorney General Frosh.
Attorney General Frosh and the task force are asking Governor Hogan to dedicate $22 million of the state’s FY22 budget to civil legal aid. his request is for this coming budget year, and it will only apply to this coming budget year. So it’ll be stable, but only for one year. We expect demand in this coming year to be greater than it’s ever been in Maryland’s history,” said Attorney General Frosh.
Attorney General Frosh tells 47ABC that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed just how much these services need more support. “Before the pandemic, the Maryland Legal Services Corporation, which funds most of the legal aid throughout the state, was meeting about 20% of the demand for services and now it has fallen much further behind,” said Attorney General Frosh.
Attorney General Frosh also says in the next legislative session, he has ideas to help bolster civil legal aid. For example, he says he wants to raise court fees for eviction filings. That money would be put toward funding for civil legal aid. “We hope that we’ll be able to provide a stable source of income for the legal services corporation and its subsidiaries or grantees through increasing the filing fees and creating other streams of income,” said Attorney General Frosh.