FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 28, 2017
(AUSTIN) — Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, R-Houston, on Thursday announced his appointment of Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, to the Texas Access to Justice Commission. Created by the Texas Supreme Court in 2001, the commission is charged with increasing access to justice for low-income Texans.
"I am grateful to Lt. Governor Patrick for this appointment, especially because of my passion to ensure equal access to justice for all Texans, regardless of income," Senator Zaffirini said. "Thanks in part to the commission's leadership, Texas has made important progress in this arena in recent years. The work continues, however, as there are still barriers to justice that need to be addressed. Accordingly, I look forward to my first commission meeting next Wednesday."
Chaired by noted Houston litigator Harry M. Reasoner, the commission promotes policies that remove barriers to the legal system, works to secure resources for legal aid in Texas, provides training for legal aid lawyers and educates the legal community about access to justice issues and the importance of pro bono work.
A member of the Texas Judicial Council and of the Senate State Affairs Committee, Senator Zaffirini has championed legislation and funding that increases access to justice for all Texans. In 2015, for example, she authored and passed Senate Bill (SB) 478 and SB 512, to create simple, standardized forms for landlord-tenant disputes, wills and other basic legal matters that can be used by low-income Texans who cannot afford to hire attorneys.
This year she authored and passed SB 1911, which facilitates the creation of legal self-help centers and multi-county law libraries, to improve legal services for under-served populations. What's more, the bill directs courts with websites to post links to legal self-help resources. She also authored and passed SB 1913, which helps dismantle the modern-day "debtors' prison" system that jails thousands of low-income Texans for no reason other than their inability to pay fines.
"Lack of access to justice can have devastating effects on low-income Texans" Senator Zaffirini said. "Removing related barriers not only helps them resolve legal issues affecting their work, their health and their families, but also helps our country meet its promise of 'justice for all.'"
Additional information about the Texas Access to Justice Commission is available via its website, www.texasatj.org.
SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI, D-Laredo, is a member of the Texas Access to Justice Commission, the Texas Judicial Council and the Senate State Affairs Committee.