Lawmakers launch legal aid caucus

Lawmakers launch legal aid caucus
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Lawmakers in the House have created a caucus to make it easier for low-income families to get legal representation.

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Reps. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) and Susan BrooksSusan Wiant BrooksHeart-stopping cybersecurity threats — literally Overnight Tech: White House unveils tech education initiative | Bannon reportedly sought to spy on Facebook | Uber CEO to appeal London ban | John Oliver rips AT&T-Time Warner merger Overnight Finance: SEC says hackers may have profited from stolen info | Senators to grill Equifax, Wells Fargo chiefs | Trump hits North Korea with new sanctions MORE (R-Ind.) launched the Access to Civil Legal Services Caucus on Tuesday to advocate for civil legal aid programs and ensure access to representation is never limited by income.

“Our legal system is where our nation makes good on the sacred promise of equal justice under the law," Kennedy said in a news release. "But too often that promise is far from guaranteed for low-income families, veterans, victims of domestic violence and thousands of other Americans forced to stand in our courtrooms alone each year with their homes, savings and futures at risk.”

In urging other lawmakers to join the caucus, the lawmakers cited a Boston Bar Association report that found 64 percent of cases in Massachusetts in 2013 that were eligible for legal aid programs were turned away due to lack of funding. The majority of cases covered by civil legal aid organizations in Massachusetts and Indiana involved family and housing.

“This caucus will seek to change that, making sure that when civil disputes are brought to our judicial system, those involved, regardless of financial means, have access to appropriate legal resources and representation,” Brooks said.