Governor Walker Signs Legislation to Safeguard Access to Civil Justice for Low-Income Alaskans
House Bill 106 Enables Appropriation of Court Filing Fees to the Civil Legal Services Fund
ANCHORAGE, AK—Governor Walker signed legislation sponsored by Representative Matt Claman (D-Anchorage) to safeguard Alaskans' access to the civil justice system by creating a stable and sustainable mechanism for funding the Alaska Legal Services Corporation.
House Bill 106 allows the legislature to appropriate up to 10 percent of the filing fees received by the Alaska Court System during the previous fiscal year to the Civil Legal Services Fund. It further allows for appropriations to be made from that fund to organizations that provide civil legal services to low‐income individuals, like the Alaska Legal Services Corporation.
Alaska Legal Services Corporation (ALSC) is a private, non-profit law firm that has provided civil legal aid to low-income Alaskans for over 45 years. ALSC provides free legal help to seniors, veterans, disabled Alaskans, children, low-income workers and consumers, and domestic violence victims. ALSC is dedicated to protecting those across Alaska who cannot afford to hire an attorney of their own.
Since 1984, the number of Alaskans who qualified for legal services has more than doubled, from 41,000 to over 100,000. Yet currently, the state's contribution to ALSC is only a fraction of what it was 30 years ago.
“ALSC does critical work on behalf of Alaskans. At current funding levels, however, ALSC turns away hundreds of families seeking assistance each year due to resource limitations. House Bill 106 aims to reduce Alaska’s civil justice gap by stabilizing funding and helping ensure that civil legal aid is available to all Alaskans, not just the few who can afford it,” said Rep. Claman.