Assembly Budget Includes Critical Funding for Legal Support for New Yorkers & Programs to Combat Gun Violence

Speaker Carl Heastie and Codes Committee Chair Jeffrey Dinowitz today announced that the Assembly State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2023-24 Budget includes critical investments in legal support services for New Yorkers, in discovery in court proceedings and anti-gun violence programs across the state.

“The Assembly Majority is committed to ensuring that all New Yorkers are able to seek the justice they deserve, and to keeping our communities safe from the scourge of gun violence,” Speaker Heastie said. “Our budget reflects that, making critical investments in programs to help New Yorkers navigate the courts, and in programs that address the root causes of gun violence in our communities.”

“This budget makes critical investments in legal assistance programs and prosecutor offices to help ensure all New Yorkers are able to have their voices heard in our justice system,” Assemblymember Dinowitz said. “It also invests in vital programs to help keep our communities safe from gun violence, and we will continue working to ensure our criminal justice system is able to operate efficiently, fairly, and in a way that respects the constitutional rights of all New Yorkers while upholding our core ideals of public safety.”

The Assembly is committed to fighting the scourge of gun violence in New York’s communities, and has included a total of $69.3 million in in anti-gun violence initiatives. This includes:

  • an additional $10 million for SNUG programs for a total funding of $31 million;
  • $36.4 million for the GIVE initiative; and
  • $11.9 million for Community Stabilization Units.

The Assembly SFY 2023-24 provides $275 million in critical funding for discovery within the court system, including:

  • $100 million in total discovery defense funding;
  • $100 million in total prosecutorial discovery funding;
  • $50 million in discovery capital for New York City; and
  • $25 million in discovery capital for the rest of New York State.

The Assembly budget includes $198 million for grants to counties for expenses related to increased counsel rates to improve the quality of representation available to those who are entitled to representation but are financially unable to attain it.

The Assembly budget provides $40 million in funding for Aid to Defense and restores the carve out of $2.83 million for Legal Services Assistance Fund (LSAF) to support civil and criminal legal services grants. It also restores:

  • $5 million to support criminal justice programs including reentry programs, community dispute resolution centers, community-based organizations, transitional housing, civil or criminal legal services and crime prevention programs;
  • $2.1 million for the New York State Defenders Association;
  • $1.2 million for Prisoner Legal Services;
  • $609,000 for domestic violence related civil and criminal legal services support;
  • $600,000 for immigrant legal services; and
  • $147,000 for rape crisis centers for a total of $6.5 million.

Also included in the spending plan is $5 million to establish the Office of Civil Representation. This office would provide Eviction Prevention Legal Services statewide for legal assistance in eviction proceedings and would supplement the existing program in New York City.