Letter to the Editor: Restore funding for legal services to low-income Alaskans

The attorneys of ALSC help achieve justice and create a better Alaska.

Letter to the Editor: Restore funding for legal services to low-income Alaskans

Since 1967, Alaska Legal Services Corporation has provided quality free civil legal services to low-income Alaskans. Beyond that, they provide training for those that need help in representing themselves. In both of these roles, that of advocate and teacher, the attorneys of ALSC help achieve justice and create a better Alaska.

Recently, ALSC has been providing services to 8,000 clients a year in 197 rural and urban communities throughout Alaska. This year the Legislature appropriated $759,000 for ALSC. This money was vetoed.

In the past, ALSC has had to turn away half of those who seek their help. This veto will only increase that ratio, to the detriment of Alaska’s people. Each year ALSC secures millions of dollars in direct federal benefits for eligible families. This results in stimulated local spending and allows its clients to receive the benefits due them and actually saves the state and local budgets from having to step in and respond to these needs.

I had been a superior court judge for 27 years when I retired seven years ago. I heard many cases represented by ALSC attorneys. They presented their client’s best case, made it easier for the opposing side to understand and negotiate, and made for a better, more efficient use of the courtroom. They greatly helped in achieving just results.

Our justice system is better for the work of the Alaska Legal Services Corporation. I encourage the Legislature and the governor to correct the veto and restore the $759,000 for the Alaska Legal Services Corporation.

— Peter Michalski, Anchorage

More in Opinion

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, a Nikiski Republican, speaks in favor of overriding a veto of Senate Bill 140 during floor debate of a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature on Monday, March 18, 2024. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman: Session ends with budget, dividend and bills passed

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

The Alaska State Capitol. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Listen to PAs; support Senate Bill 115: Modernizing PA Practice in Alaska

Health care is rapidly evolving, demanding a more flexible and responsive system

Mount Redoubt can be seen across Cook Inlet from North Kenai Beach on Thursday, July 2, 2022. (Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion file photo)
Opinion: Hilcorp Alaska: Powering Southcentral Alaska — past, present and future

Hilcorp Alaska has and will continue to fully develop our Cook Inlet basin leasehold

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, a Nikiski Republican, speaks in favor of overriding a veto of Senate Bill 140 during floor debate of a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature on Monday, March 18, 2024 (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman: Collegiality matters

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Juneau Empire file photo
Larry Persily.
Opinion: Alaska might as well embrace the past

The governor, legislators, municipal officials and business leaders are worried that the Railbelt will run short of natural gas before the end of the decade

The Alaska State Capitol on March 1. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: Physicians oppose Alaska Senate Bill 115 — Independent Practice for PAs

Alaskans don’t want access to just any health care, they want access to high quality care

Norm McDonald is the deputy director of Fire Protection for the Alaska Division of Forestry & Fire Protection. (Photo courtesy Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service)
The Swan Lake Fire can be seen from above on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Alaska Wildland Fire Information)
Opinion: This wildfire prevention month, reflect on ways to protect each other and our communities from wildfire

Alaskans saw what happened in Canada last year, and they know it can happen here too

Jason Sodergren and retired veterinarian Ralph Broshes capture and attend to crane shot with an arrow, July 9, 2023, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo provided by Nina Faust)
What happened to the ‘Arrowshot Crane’?

In many animal rescues, the outcome is fairly quickly known, but the… Continue reading

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski addresses the Alaska State Legislature on Feb. 22, 2023. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: Set ANWR aside and President Biden is pro-Alaska

Could it be that President Biden is more pro-Alaska than Donald Trump?