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HB 532 - Family services legal fund

HB 532 - Family services legal fund

Phil Haunschild
February 19, 2018

Bill description: HB 532 would establish the Children and Families Legal Services Fund under the Supreme Court.

Rating: -2

Does it violate the principle of equal protection under the law? Conversely, does it restore or protect the principle of equal protection under the law? 

The Children and Families Legal Services Fund established under HB 532 would provide monies to Idaho Legal Aid Services to fund legal representation for low-income families and individuals in civil cases. This fund would be administered by the Idaho Supreme Court.

Idaho Legal Aid Services (ILAS) is a private non-profit law firm and community education organization that works with low-income Idahoans. HB 532 specifically requires that grants from the fund go “to Idaho legal aid services for the purpose of providing free legal representation and advocacy to low-income families and children of low-income families in civil matters.”

By stipulating that these funds only go to ILAS, HB 532 would put other law firms and community organizations at a substantial disadvantage; any non-profit or for-profit law firm can provide these services pro-bono, and other community organizations provide similar educational programs.


Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Conversely, does it eliminate or curtail the size or scope of government? 

HB 532 would give the Idaho Supreme Court the responsibility to manage the fund and the authority to determine to whom and how monies will be disbursed. This will move the Supreme Court beyond simply adjudicating cases, but it will give the Court authority to determine who may and may not receive funding to come before a court.


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