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06/19/2024 11:27 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20230&cosponId=41106
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: June 26, 2023 03:32 PM
From: Representative Tim Briggs
To: All House members
Subject: Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Support
 
As you know, the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN) is an organization which provides leadership, funding, and support to a network of nonprofit legal aid organizations throughout the Commonwealth. These programs work tirelessly to protect and advance the civil legal rights of Pennsylvanians living in poverty through the provision of free civil legal services. By providing legal services to those in need, the Commonwealth can prevent homelessness, secure vital benefits, and empower vulnerable individuals to take control of their lives. In addition, funding civil legal aid to constituents is cost effective, with Pennsylvania gaining twelve dollars for every dollar invested.
 
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to expand the Access to Justice Act filing fees currently collected pursuant to Act 49 of 2009 used to help fund legal aid services by allowing this fee to apply to summary traffic citations.  As you may be aware, there are currently $6 in fees assessed on a range of court filings to help support civil legal aid.  However, of these only $4 apply to traffic citations.   It is my proposal to broaden the other $2 to include traffic citations, which would provide additional, stable funding for civil legal aid without an increase in the filing fees.
 
In summary, last year alone, PLAN helped over 200,000 clients understand and exercise their legal rights as homeowners, tenants, employees, spouses, and consumers. The services provided by the Network’s legal aid organizations are often critical to helping people navigate situations like gaining or maintaining health insurance and public benefits; preventing eviction, foreclosure, and utility shutoffs; seeking an expungement or pardon for old and minor criminal records; and supporting survivors of domestic and family violence. Without access to legal remedies and support, the consequences of these cases can be severe: families can lose their children, homes, healthcare, and financial stability.  
 
Please join me in supporting this legislation. 



Introduced as HB1617