$5 million appropriated for Civil Legal Assistance Act

first_img $5 million appropriated for Civil Legal Assistance Act Mark D. Killian Managing EditorThe legislature has provided funding to take the Civil Legal Assistance Act statewide.House and Senate budget proposals — expected to be approved as this News went to press — contain $5 million each to expand the program that provides legal assistance funding for family law, assistance to victims of domestic violence, elder and child abuse, entitlement to public benefits, including veterans’ benefits and immigration, for economically disadvantaged Floridians.The act has been operational for the past three years in seven circuits designated as pilot projects.Foundation President Terry Russell said the benefits legal assistance brings to needy families in overcoming barriers to increased stability and independence have been proven over the last three years and now will be available to low-income families everywhere in Florida.“I give every lawyer in this state credit for doing what they have done as pro bono advocates, because without our ability to demonstrate to the legislature that we were doing our share, we would not have convinced them to have the state do its share,” Russell said. He added that it took a strong grass roots effort as well as support from key legislators, including Reps. Dudley Goodlette, R-Naples, Joe Negron, R-Stuart, Don Davis, R-Jacksonville Beach, and Sens. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, and Lisa Carlton, R-Osprey, to get it done.Now, Russell said, the challenge is going to be to maintain the funding.Goodlette said increasing the appropriation for the act — which promotes family stability by often helping families solve problems before they grow to the point where court intervention is required — was one of his priorities this session.“The success that the Foundation has experienced with the pilot program, in my judgment, speaks for itself, and this increase in funding is a tribute to the really excellent work that has been done and to the program’s many significant accomplishments,” Goodlette said.In the most recent reporting year, Civil Legal Assistance Act funds saved the homes of elderly Florida residents victimized by predatory lending practices, secured child support collection orders, gained independence for domestic violence victims, and assisted the disabled to obtain federal benefits needed to survive, according to the Foundation. The money cannot be used to sue the state or any of its subsidiaries, and most of the legal services provided are outside the courtroom. According to the Foundation, 83 percent of legal assistance for low-income Floridians funded by the act was in the form of counsel and advice, brief service, referral to other agencies, and negotiation.Rep. Don Davis, R-Jacksonville Beach, called the act “a wonderful program supported by members of The Florida Bar” to provide legal advice and assistance through legal aid organizations.“The citizens served by legal aid normally have no other alternative when they need legal advice or assistance, as they cannot afford a private attorney,” Davis said. “A very good friend of mine, [Bar President-elect designate] Hank Coxe of Jacksonville encouraged me to support this $5 million appropriation, and the leadership of the House was also in support.”The funding will be allocated as provided in the law based on the poverty population of each Florida county. Last year, the pilot projects provided legal assistance to roughly 4,700 clients in resolving their problems. In addition, legal aid grantees educated nearly 9,000 people about their legal rights and responsibilities through printed materials, seminars, and mailings.“It is exciting that House Appropriations Chairman Joe Negron and I could make this historic investment in providing legal assistance to most at-risk families in Florida,” Sen. Fasano said. “With this new funding, we can now move from providing help in just a few pilot project areas to implementing a statewide program to help so many more families.”Fasano said the money may now be used to serve up to as many as 10,000 families, which almost one in five have someone 65 years old or older who needs help.“increasing our funding to almost $5 million, it may now be possible to educate over 40,000 Floridians about their legal rights,” Fasano said. “We are thrilled that now thousands more Floridians will receive legal help.”With statewide resources, Fasano said, the program also should have a “dramatic impact” toward reducing court backlogs and will be of great benefit to many of Florida’s senior citizens.Jane Curran, the Foundation’s executive director, also said a great deal of the civil legal assistance funded by the state brings in federal funds to Florida in the form of Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security Income, and veterans’ benefits.The Civil Legal Assistance Act was first enacted 2002. Goodlette was the chief House sponsor of the act and was joined by Sen. Burt Saunders, R-Naples, in the Senate. The legislature appropriated $2 million in the 2002-03 state budget, marking the first time Florida has provided funding for civil legal assistance, the 40th state to do so. The state funds were awarded as pilot projects and have only been available to serve low-income Floridians in seven of Florida’s 20 judicial circuits. In 2003 and 2004 funding for the pilot projects was cut to $1.5 million and $1 million respectively. The funds go to the Florida Department of Community Affairs. DCA contracts with The Florida Bar Foundation, which awards subcontracts on a competitive basis to local legal aid organizations. The Foundation also evaluates how effectively the legal aid programs use the state funds and to be sure that the funds are only used for purposes approved by the state. $5 million appropriated for Civil Legal Assistance Act May 15, 2005 Managing Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

Lakers guard Avery Bradley to miss another week; Kyle Kuzma questionable for Dallas

first_img Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“Well, I’m just happy for him because it’s no fun sitting, especially when he’s off to such a strong start to his season,” he said. “So I’m just happy he’s going to get out and sweat a little more and start his progression towards the future.”There was other discouraging injury news: Kyle Kuzma did not practice Saturday afternoon, after spraining his left ankle late in the third quarter of Friday’s 125-103 victory over Washington. While he attempted to play through it, he left the game for the locker room early.He’s questionable to play against Dallas on Sunday afternoon.Aside from losing DeMarcus Cousins in the offseason, the Lakers have largely been dealing with minor, nagging injuries. Many of these have been borne by Anthony Davis, who has missed just one game but has been hit with shoulder and rib injuries during the season.Davis said it’s unlikely that he, much less the rest of the Lakers, will change his style of play to be more cautious about getting hurt. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Locking into Sunday won’t be a problem for the Lakers, who are facing Dallas for the first time since a thrilling 119-110 overtime victory over the upstart Mavericks on the road. Since that game, second-year forward Luka Doncic has been lighting the league aflame: He’s third in the league in scoring (30.8 ppg), second in assists (9.6 apg) and 17th in rebounding (9.9 rpg). Following a 42-point outburst in Phoenix on Friday night, Doncic became only the third player in NBA history to average a triple-double while scoring at least 30 points per game.His stat-sheet filling has drawn comparisons to Lakers star LeBron James, but the Lakers don’t necessarily agree with that. Vogel still acknowledged preparing to guard Doncic – who had 31 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds in the last game – was going to make him lose sleep. Danny Green compared him to another natural scorer with some craftiness.“I compare him to a bigger Lou (Williams), where he gets to that left hand, and he gets that step back or fadeway, and you can’t really touch him,” Green said. “You’ve got to make sure you play good defense without fouling him.” Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed EL SEGUNDO — For the first time in weeks, Avery Bradley hit the practice floor.There was some good news Saturday following Bradley’s medical re-evaluation: The Lakers’ starting guard was cleared to start “basketball progression.” But the nebulous term means Bradley, who has dealt with a hairline fracture in his right leg, has further to go. He will also miss at least four more games, bringing his total to 13 missed starts for the 17-2 Lakers.The Lakers haven’t lost a game among the nine Bradley has missed, but the impact has been felt defensively: The Lakers have slipped in defensive rating from first to fifth. They’ve sported just the 10th-best defensive rating in the NBA over the past nine games (106.3).Bradley’s recovery has progressed from swimming and running on an Alter-G treadmill to now being able to bear full weight on his injured leg. He’s been a sideline presence as well. Frank Vogel was glad to see him back doing basketball activities.center_img Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions “I don’t play careful,” he said. “If I’m gonna play, I’m gonna play. And I do what I gotta do to help the team win. So I still play the same exact way. If I step on the floor, then I’m gonna give it my all.”Lakers kick off challenging stretchAfter going 14-1 in November, one of the best records in a single month in franchise history, the Lakers face a significantly rockier challenge.After facing 11 opponents with losing records last month, December will flip the script: 10 of the Lakers’ 14 upcoming opponents are above .500. That comes with the additional difficulty of playing nine road games (the Lakers have yet to lose away from Staples Center).While the Lakers spouted off typical cliches about taking one game at a time, they also recognized how difficult the slate will get. Vogel called for a mental reset from his team.“Today we did talk about, ‘OK, in November we had a great month. That’s behind us. We’re 0-0 now,’” he said. “So every night is going to be a little more difficult than we faced last month. Yeah, we set the stage for what this month is going to look like and now, let’s lock into this one game.”Related Articleslast_img read more