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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.

The program is also explained on a recent "Ask a Lawyer" television show. Go here to view the program. As of July 16, 216 cases have requested to participate. Go here for a detailed update.


Egypt, Saudi Arabia sign joint security agreement

[JURIST] Egypt and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement on Thursday that will improve stability and safety in the region. The agreement [Al Arabiya report], entitled the "Cairo Declaration" and signed in Cairo by President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi [BBC profile] of Egypt and Saudi Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [official profile], aims to boost military and social ties in the region, as well as improve economic stability. The relationship between the two countries has been improving since Islamist President Mohamed Morsi [BBC profile] in 2013. Saudi Arabia has in turn offered billions of dollars to aid Egypt in... Full Story››

Federal judge rejects challenge from Guantanamo Bay detainee

[JURIST] A federal judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Thursday rejected [opinion, PDF] a legal challenge from a Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] detainee who claimed that his detention at the naval base was illegal. Muktar Yahya Najee al-Warafi from Yemen was captured in Afghanistan and has been held at Guantanamo since 2002. In his challenge, he claimed that his imprisonment was unlawful due to recent statement by President Barack Obama that conclude hostilities between the US and the Taliban have ended. Warafi brought the action under the Authorization for Use of Military... Full Story››

Federal judge finds Greenpeace protesters in contempt

A federal judge in Alaska ruled [opinion, PDF] Thursday that Greenpeace USA will be fined $2,500 for every hour that protesters block a Royal Dutch Shell vessel from leaving Portland. The protesters [press release] have been suspending themselves from a bridge and kayakers have been blocking the river to try to prevent a vessel leaving for oil drilling in the Arctic from passing. US District Court Judge Sharon Gleason warned that the fine would jump to $5,000 an hour on Friday, $7,500 an hour on Saturday, and $10,000 an hour on Sunday. The environmental advocacy organization Greenpeace International [advocacy website]... Full Story››

Defense secretary orders recruitment office security review after shootings

[JURIST] US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter [official website] on Thursday ordered a review of military recruitment office security policies, according to a statement from the Pentagon. Speaking on the order [Stars and Stripes report], Pentagon spokesperson Navy Captain Jeff Davis also noted that existing Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] policy authorized commanders to arm qualified personnel at recruiting offices and other off-base sites. This call to review force protection and security policies, programs and procedures comes in the wake of the shooting at a Chattanooga, Tennessee Navy-Marine reserve center which left four Marines and a sailor dead. Davis... Full Story››

Israel prisoner force-feeding measure becomes law

[JURIST] The Israeli parliament [official website] on Thursday passed a law [press release] that allows the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strikes if their lives are at risk. The law, which passed in a close vote of 46 - 40, requires that the force-feeding of an inmate be sanctioned by a judge following the recommendation of a doctor. If a request for force feeding is approved, the law mandates that it be carried out in "as dignified a manner as possible" in private and allows the use of "reasonable force" to carry out the task. The Cabinet of Israel [official... Full Story››