April in DC
Last week I traveled to Washington DC to take part in the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) Annual Meeting. While I attended the LSC quarterly meeting in San Francisco a few years back and was very impressed, this year’s experience was extra special. The business meetings were held at the LSC offices on Water Street. The following day we regrouped at the Georgetown Law Center for a series of programs on Access to Justice. Corporate counsel, members of the judiciary, Veterans services leaders and Senator Joseph Kennedy all shared valuable information and insights. We ended the day with a reception at the Supreme Court. Yes, it was awesome! The group’s enthusiasm for legal services was evident. While at the reception I met up with fellow LSFNers, Julia R. Wilson, Chris McConkey and Maureen Alger.
Today I received the following update from the LSC Chair, John Levi:
I want to share the good news about the LSC budget. Yesterday, the House, and today the Senate, passed the FY17 Omnibus Spending Bill that includes $385 million for LSC, which is the same amount as FY16. The bill is now on its way to the president.
We continue to receive impressive Congressional support. Yesterday, Senator Kaine spoke on the Senate floor about the importance of protecting funding for LSC. As some of you may know, Senator Kaine practiced law in Richmond for 17 years, specializing in the representation of people who had been denied housing due to their race or disability, and his wife Anne Holton worked as a legal aid lawyer for from 1984 until 1998 with the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society. His full speech can accessed here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/sdmc-media.senate.gov/KAINE/050317_KAINE_1_WEBHD.mp4.
Senator Kaine also engaged in a colloquy with Senator Angus King of Maine on the importance of legal aid. Senator King once worked at Pine Tree Legal Assistance, LSC’s Maine grantee. Their colloquy is also online: https://www.facebook.com/SenatorKaine/videos/1286633051385785/.
We have a long road ahead, but fortunately many friends and allies will travel it with us.