The Commission has worked diligently with a bipartisan group of legislators, the State Bar of Wisconsin, the court system, and other equal justice stakeholders to restore funding for civil legal aid in Wisconsin. In 2015, Wisconsin’s Joint Finance Committee voted unanimously to support targeted funding in the 2015-2017 state budget for civil legal aid to abuse victims. The Legislature and Governor also approved the funding, removing Wisconsin from a very short list of states that made no provision for civil legal aid to the poor as part of the state budget.
This is a great first step but there is more work to do to ensure that additional categories of Wisconsin’s most vulnerable residents have access to the legal help they need to get back on their feet. It will take a long-term, concerted effort from all stakeholders to meet this challenge. Wisconsin lawyers and judges, the federal government, private foundations and now the State of Wisconsin all provide vital financial support for civil legal aid. This public-private partnership needs constant encouragement.
What can you do? Call, write or visit your elected representatives. Make sure that they know how much you value their support for civil legal aid to the indigent. Click here to find out who represents you.