News Release

Texas Access to Justice Commission
Texas Access to Justice Foundation
 
 February 24, 201
2

Texas Representative Jim Pitts Receives Access to Justice Legislative Hero Award

AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Access to Justice Commission and Texas Access to Justice Foundation will honor State Representative Jim Pitts with the Texas Access to Justice Legislative Hero Award for his contributions to improving access to justice in Texas during a special presentation in Waxahachie on Friday, Feb. 24.   Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan L. Hecht, the Court’s liaison for access to justice issues, will present the award to Representative Pitts during the 60th anniversary celebration of Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas.

As chairman of the Texas House Apprpriations Committee, Representative Pitts was instrumental in protecting Texans’ fundamental right to access the courts, including efforts that led to the preservation of funding for basic civil legal services.  Through his leadership efforts, Representative Pitts assured that the infrastructure for volunteer and staff legal aid was preserved for those families in economic crisis with serious legal problems.    

“Representative Pitts’ support in the Legislature helps many struggling Texans access the justice system to obtain help in civil legal matters; such as benefits for veterans, health care for the elderly, and domestic violence,” Justice Hecht said. “At a time of dwindling resources, we are grateful for the support as we continue to provide access to justice to Texans in need.”

"I am truly honored to accept this award from the access to justice community," Representative Pitts said.  "It was my privilege to assist the effort to protect all Texans' fundamental rights within our justice system."

The Texas Access to Justice Commission and Foundation launched the Legislative Hero Award program in 2010 to recognize legislators who, through their efforts, have significantly advanced access to justice in Texas by assisting with the appropriation of funds and/or other substantive activities related to the provision of legal aid in the state.

Representative Pitts has represented House District 10 since 1993 and currently serves as the chairman of the House AppropriationsCommittee, his second appointment to the position in the last three sessions. He has also served on the House Transportation, Economic Development; State, Federal and International Relations, and Redistricting committees.   An attorney, he has practiced law in Waxahachie for more than 20 years. 

Legal aid organizations funded by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation help more than 120,000 low-income Texas families each year with their civil legal needs. Yet, for every person who is helped with legal aid, a qualifying Texan is denied assistance due to a lack of resources. Currently, only one legal aid lawyer is available to provide assistance for every 11,152 Texans who qualify.

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The Texas Access to Justice Commission was created in 2001 by the Supreme Court of Texas to develop and implement policy initiatives designed to expand access to and enhance the quality of justice in civil legal matters for low-income Texans. The Commission has created several initiatives to increase resources and awareness of legal aid. For more information, please visit www.TexasATJ.org.

The Texas Access to Justice Foundation (www.teajf.org), created by the Supreme Court of Texas in 1984, is the primary state-based funding source for the provision of civil legal aid in Texas. The organization is committed to the vision that all Texans will have equal access to justice, regardless of their income. The Foundation administers a variety of funding sources, which are earmarked to assist nonprofit organizations in providing legal aid to more than 120,000 Texas families each year.

Contact: Kimberly Schmitt
512-320-0099, ext. 104
kschmitt@teajf.org

 

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