The State Bar of Wisconsin warns that Walker's budget will erode the quality of justice for the state's poorest residents.
Walker wants to eliminate $4.6 million the Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation uses to fund civil legal services, says bar spokesman Tom Solberg.
Besides making it harder for state residents facing "evictions, divorces and other critical legal issues," Solberg says, the cuts will make it harder for state courts to function efficiently. He's referring to "the added burden placed on the courts and other parties when individuals appear in court without the assistance of a lawyer."
According to the bar, the budget also eliminates funding for data collection to study racial profiling in Wisconsin.
But Walker's budget isn't all bad news from the State Bar's perspective. It also authorizes funds to pay for 45 new positions at the State Public Defender office, $3.4 million more for the office's appropriation for paying private attorneys, and $366,700 for court interpreters.