There are a lot of troubling cuts to vital programs in the administration’s proposed budget. One that you may not have heard of yet is the proposal to eliminate ALL funding for Legal Services Corporation (LSC). In Utah, LSC provides 60%-70% of the funding for Utah Legal Services, an organization that provides essential civil legal services for struggling Utahns.
What is Legal Services Corporation?
Nationwide, Legal Services Corporation’s portion of the current budget is very modest – just 1/10,000th of the overall budget. Nonetheless, studies show that LSC offers a strong return on investment. Its offices in every congressional district assist approximately 1.9 million people annually, securing housing for veterans, protecting seniors from scams, representing people in rural areas, protecting victims of domestic violence, and helping disaster survivors. In fact, even the late conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia supported this important program, along with the rest of his colleagues on the Supreme Court.
Why protect Utah Legal Services?
Utah Legal Services, which receives most of its funding from LSC, opened in 1976 and has offices in Salt Lake City, Ogden, Provo, and St. George. Utah Legal Services assists domestic violence victims, those who are homeless, senior citizens, migrant farm workers, Native Americans, people with disabilities, veterans, people who need public benefits and other struggling Utahns. More than 360,000 Utahns are eligible for services from Utah Legal Services. Staff attorneys and volunteer attorneys from the Utah State Bar help with legal needs in the following areas: landlord/tenant disputes, housing, consumer law, public benefits, family law, domestic violence, bankruptcy and others. In 2016, 15,800 households contacted Utah Legal Services for help. 74% of the clients were women.
Trump’s budget cuts are opposed by the Utah State Bar Association, which has written to Utah’s Congressional Delegation and the members of the Appropriations Committee. You can read the Utah State Bar’s letter to Orrin Hatch here. The good news is that there is something YOU can do to protect these invaluable legal services.
CALL TO ACTION
- Call your Members of Congress (MOCs) and urge them to oppose any cuts to funding for Legal Services Corporation in order to protect essential legal services for Utahns.
- Calling all attorneys to take action! If you’re an attorney, the American Bar Association will hand deliver your personalized message to your MOCs. All you have to do is click here.
How to contact your MOCs:
Sen. Orrin Hatch (202) 224-5251 (DC) // (801) 524-4380 (SLC) // (801) 375-7881 (Provo) // (435) 634-1795 (St. George) // (801) 625-5672 (Ogden) // (435) 586-8435 (Cedar City)
Sen. Mike Lee 202-224-5444 (DC) // 801-524-5933 (SLC) // 435-628-5514 (St. George) // 801-392-9633 (Ogden)
Rep. Rob Bishop (UT01) – D.C. (202) 225-0453, UT (801) 625-0107
Rep. Chris Stewart (UT02) – D.C. (202) 225-9730, UT (801) 364-5550
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (UT03) – D.C. (202) 225-7751, UT (801) 851-2500
Rep. Mia Love (UT04) – D.C. (202) 225-3011, UT (801) 996-8729
Not sure who your U.S. Representative is? Find out here.