Both the Democratic Governor and Republican legislators are proposing to increase the sales tax and, for the first time, apply it to legal services. Providing legal representation is not a commodity. It is not a luxury. For many Pennsylvanians, hiring an attorney is a necessity. Do not be misled to think that this is a tax on lawyers. It is instead a tax on clients.
Access to justice is a basic constitutional right that should not be taxed and treated as a commodity. Increasing the cost of effective legal representation by imposing a sales tax impacts people of limited means. The public should not tolerate this added cost to protect its rights under the law. It will hurt people who are already hurting and in need of legal assistance.
Please reach out to your state legislators to ask them to vote AGAINST this proposed tax. While we appreciate the need to change the way we fund our schools and lessen the burden of property taxes on individuals, taxing legal services is not the way to go. You may use the links below to find the email address for your legislators and to contact the governor. Even a short message expressing opposition is important and effective!
Click here to find your legislator.
Click here to then contact your state senator.
Click here to then contact your state representative.
Click here to then e-mail Governor Wolf.
Looking for a Lawyer?
Have you just been served with a complaint seeking to foreclose on your home or to change the child custody arrangement or to evict you from your apartment? Or are you considering bankruptcy?
You need to consult with an attorney. Our members are skilled attorneys who can fight for your rights, draft valid legal documents and stand by you in the courtroom. Don’t be misled by television ads for online legal forms. Notaries and petition preparers cannot give legal advice or accompany you to court. And “do-it-yourself” law is a fast lane to disaster. Our members know Pennsylvania law, are available for personal consultations and are accountable to you.
If you feel overwhelmed looking for the attorney right for you, go here for more information on what the Berks County Bar Association can do for you.
Foreclosure Mediation Program Continues
The Berks County Bar Association, in conjunction with the Berks County Courts and Neighborhood Housing Services, have created a program by which those threatened with the loss of their home can seek relief. The program began January 1 and is continuing. Those served with a complaint in a consumer debt or home mortgage case may take advantage of the program.
Read More› for a description of the program.
Supreme Court to rule in voter equality case
The US Supreme Court [official website] agreed Tuesday to rule in a major voter equality case, noting jurisdiction [order list, PDF] in Evenwel v. Abbott [docket; jurisdictional statement, PDF]. The question presented is: "whether the 'one-person, one-vote' principle of the Fourteenth Amendment creates a judicially enforceable right ensuring that the districting process does not deny voters an equal vote." The case concerns Texas' redistricting scheme. A three-judge panel for the US District Court for the Western District of Texas dismissed [opinion, PDF] the voters' claims that their votes would count less than if they were in other districts. The court... Full Story››
ICTY orders Serbia to return Seselj to detention
[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] on Tuesday ordered Serbia's justice ministry to return Vojislav Seselj [JURIST news archive], ailing alleged war criminal, to his detention cell immediately. Seselj had been held in The Hague on charges of leading ethnic Serbs to persecute non-Serbs during the Croatia and Bosnia wars in the 1990s but was released last month to return to Serbia for cancer treatment. Seselj has pleaded not guilty on nine counts including murder and torture. The ICTY had revoked his provisional release [JURIST report] in March, because Seselj spoke at a news... Full Story››
US journalist's closed trial begins in Iran
[JURIST] Washington Post [official website] correspondent Jason Rezaian's trial began [IRNA report] on Tuesday in Tehran's Islamic Revolutionary Court with a hearing that was closed to the public. Rezaian, a US-Iranian dual citizen has been detained in Iran for 10 months on charges of espionage and giving information to hostile governments. He was originally arrested without charges and held in the notorious Evin Prison [Fox News backgrounder] in solitary confinement for the duration of his imprisonment, and allegedly Iran has presented no evidence [Reuters report] to support the charges. Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron [official Twitter account] released a... Full Story››
Suspected Islamic State activists arrested in Bangladesh
[JURIST] [JURIST] A Bangladeshi police official on Monday said that Bangladeshi police have arrested two suspected members of the Islamic State (IS) [JURIST backgrounder] on suspicion that the pair were planning to fight for IS in Syria. According to Sheikh Nazmul Alam, a senior official of the police detective branch, the men were detained [Reuters report] in Dhaka on Sunday night during a raid of the city. One man, Aminul Islam Baig, was an IT manager [Reuters report] at International Beverages Private Ltd, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Co. He also served as a regional coordinator for IS. The other, Sakib... Full Story››
UN peace conference on Yemen indefintely postponed
[JURIST] Three Yemeni officials on Sunday said they were notified that the UN-sponsored peace conference designed to establish peace in Yemen has been indefinitely postponed. The conference was scheduled to begin [Al Jazeera report] on Thursday, and no new date has been set. Sultan al-Atwani, an aide to exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, stated that the talks were "postponed because the Houthis did not indicate their commitment to implement the Security Council resolution," [Reuters report]. He also said that intensified fighting in Aden, Taiz, Dalea and Shabwa make it difficult and dangerous to go to Geneva. The postponement of these... Full Story››